From the archives of Horror Movie Freaks


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The Strangers, 2008

It was a freezing cold evening in the chilly Melbourne winter when I

attended a 5:30 screening of ‘The Strangers’ with my good friend Jo.

We got loaded up with respectable cinema goodies and took our seats
prepared to be scared; after all, even the trailer to this film
afforded me a few chills and I wanted to get back to the way horrors
used to be when scares relied on actually scaring people, not just
grossing them out.

‘The Strangers’ tells the story of Kirsten and James, a remote farm
house, and the strangers that make a sport of their isolation and
fear.

It is a spare little story which makes good use of its minimal cast
and setting, particularly in the opening 30 minutes or so where the
tension is built up quietly and efficiently. There is a back story
between this couple and it is mostly explained through a short series
of flashbacks to the earlier part of their evening, the painful reason
for their awkwardness now. It is well-handled and the melancholy
between them is palpable.

A stranger comes to their door asking for someone who is not there and
they send her away but there is something unsettling about the
encounter, and it is 4 in the morning and they are all alone out
there.

James leaves on an errand (as you do) and Kirsten is alone now, so of
course things escalate and her unease turns to out-right fear, you in
the audience feel it too. This is tense and frightening stuff, you
cannot help put yourself in their shoes.

Things remain taut and absorbing right up until a third ‘victim’ shows
up, then all inventiveness and credibility flies out the window and
predicability and stupid responses come flying in.

It is mostly redeemed by a shockingly passionless scene of final
violence that I found chilling and sad, but it is once again hampered
by the directors need to include another tacked on horror convention
ending that actually drew some laughs from the audience and the man
seated behind me to declare “well that was a load of bullshit! I want
my money back”.

I don’t agree with his less-than-eloquent assessment of the film but I
can understand his disappointment, after all, the only thing worse
than a bad film is an average film that could’ve been great.

Liv Tyler is believable but somewhat insipid as Kirsten, you can’t
help but wish she’d gotten a little fight in her somewhere along the
line. Scott Speedman did an adequate job as James but was far more
effective in the earlier non-horror scenes than once things really get
going.

The Strangers themselves were very effective throughout and I must
admit that that sack mask has stayed with me even after the movie.

This could’ve been a real nasty, hard, thrilling little horror but
instead turned pedestrian in all the wrong places and ate itself.

Sometimes, less is more.

7/10

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Prom Night, 2008

They don’t seem to remake old horrors anymore, they just use the title and maybe the setting and off we go.
This was the case for Halloween, Texas Chainsaw, Black Christmas, When a Stranger Calls etc. and it is also the case for Prom Night.
In the original, a child’s game ended in tragedy, 6 years later, a witness to the game wants revenge. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis and was basically a good old fashioned cheesy slasher movie set at the high school prom.
In the new version, Brittany Snow plays Donna who returns home from a night out to find her family killed by a stalker teacher who, three years later, escapes and pursues her at the prom.
The movie’s ‘star’, Brittany Snow , has very little of the star power she displayed in Hairspray and is bland here, the burden of expressing both fear AND sadness over her family is obviously beyond her limited capabilities as an actress.
Her posse of friends don’t fare much better with the only real stand outs being Collins Pennie and Dana Davis as Prom King and Queen Ronnie and Lisa, their chemistry as believable as their fright.
Jonathon Schaech is a menacing presence as the killer but is not given as much screen time as he deserves, his skill with what little he is given puts the other actors to shame.
The main issue I have with this film is that it is not scary.
I know that the PG rating means no gore but where does it say that there can be no horror?
And no story coherence?
Why would the police say that they have ‘no reason’ to think the killer would go after Donna when he was arrested for stalking her??
Why would the killer go to the prom and be hidden by a cap from the other students and teachers who know him??
Why would he kill her friends instead of just her??
Why would Lisa get off the elevator on an abandoned floor instead of where her friends were when it was only the next floor down??
How does he brutally stab all those people and still not have a drop of blood on him??
There is so much of this silly questioning that it just gets ridiculous and completely takes you out of the film, it is hard to suspend your disbelief when they make it so impossible to do so.
PG horrors may have their place and that is a debate for another time (watch out for my rant on this very subject in ‘Sue Says’ soon) however I do think that in this case the film was severely hampered by this rating. Not to mention the stupidity factor…
All I want from a horror is a few good scares and maybe a sleepless night – is that too much to ask??

3/10

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The Orphanage, 2007

Suitably, this movie starts with an orphanage, angelic children running about, playing a modified game of ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf’ while the sun shines and all seems right with their small world.

We flash forward and Laura, an orphan we saw re-homed in the opening scene, has returned to the orphanage with her son and husband in tow, determined to re-open it.

They barely have time for a big welcome party before her son goes missing and the creepiness begins.

That’s a short summary of a film I am encouraging people to see but to say much more would give away too much and it is a good deal more fun to go into this one a little less the wiser.

The revelations are more haunting when you don’t expect them, the final denouement more effecting.

Del Toro produced this and heavily influenced the look and feel of it as it is a bit like Del Toro lite, but I cannot fault the good work director Juan Antonio Bayona displays here, particularly when you consider this is his first feature.

The cinematography warrants a special mention also, as it is sublime; the acting impressive across the board and some of the subtitles were entertainment on their own, so funny were the translations.

Mainly however,  this is a movie of subtly escalating disquiet, things are just so terribly ‘wrong’ here in some fundamental way that you can’t help but feel uncomfortable from the beginning, and certain set pieces (That game! That mask!) recur to you in the watches of the night and bring with them a small shiver and a rethink of that night-time toilet break.

The Orphanage has all your classic horror trappings – scary little kids, a haunted house, a tragic twist, creepy masks, a deformed child neglected and a mother tormented by this neglect, and a protagonist that everyone thinks is delusional.

This is a good old fashioned horror movie imbued with some scares that are well above average and a poignant ending that puts the whole film in a different light. Sinister and sad in equal measures, this is an orphanage well worth visiting.

 

8/10

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Turistas, 2006

Turistas is one of those movies I never got around to seeing when it first came out but found it on a list of horror nasties the other day and decided to give it ago.

Alex (Josh Duhamel), his sister Bea (Olivia Wilde) and her best friend are on a bus in Brazil which crashes in the opening sequence, introducing us to fellow survivors and future victims – Brits Finn and Liam, and Australian Pru (Melissa George).

After an argument with a local they wander off and stumble upon a hidden beach where everything is sandy shores, perfect sunshine, gorgeous half-naked people and a bar! This is some sort of paradise and they buy it hook line and sinker.

We come to realise that this place is a lure, and before you know it we are introduced to a Swedish couple (his name is Sven of course) who barely have time to lovingly caress their motorcycle (aka evidence to be used later in the film) before they are led away to die in the best and most shocking scene of the movie.

Our Western tourists meanwhile are partying the night away before waking up in the morning to realise that all their possessions have been stolen and the bar destroyed.

They decide to walk to the local town where The Motorbike is spotted thus telling them that this is a ‘bad town’.

The only person offering help is Kiko who says he’ll take them to his uncle’s house in the jungle; in absence of any other choice, they go with him. On the way there, he makes a detour to show them a lovely waterfall and underwater caves, because after being robbed, having rocks thrown at you and waking up cold and hung-over on a beach in the middle of nowhere, getting in some sight-seeing is really your main goal.

Of course, Kiko’s ‘uncle’ isn’t really his uncle but a mad doctor called Zamora who wants to sell their organs to the local hospital because America always steals from the little guy and blah blah blah. This film has now been running 55 mins and as yet all the deaths we have are 2 Swedes who we really didn’t know and a henchman.

Having watched this far you know who will be the first victim, the second victim, the third victim, you know who will survive and who will pay for their dishonesty. You even know how it’ll end.

The biggest issue I had with this film, apart from its total predictability, was its complete lack of tension. Not only did I not care what happened to these people, it was directed in such a lack-lustre way that there was not even any visceral thrill in the killing scenes, there was no believable connections between the characters and so no real loss felt when they died.

Also, there was no centre to this movie, generally films build to a scene or an ending or a moment but this film seemed to build VERY slowly and then just evaporate.

The actual death/dismemberment scene was well-filmed but was like watching ER or something, there was no screaming because the person was drugged and anesthetised during the organ removal procedure so it just felt like a medical drama scene, not a horror scene.

The cinematography was either gorgeous (the cave scenes are spectacular) or dreadful (the night time scenes so muddy you couldn’t tell who was who sometimes).

A strange film in that it didn’t seem to want to be the style of horror it had to be in order to work. If you want to make a video nasty for the noughties, it’d better be nasty or at least scary; otherwise, what’s the point?

 

4.5/10

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Eden Lake, 2008

The other day I read a blog bemoaning the lack of intelligent, relatable characters populating horror films, how they seem to exist only to serve the plot, not to react and retaliate the way in which real people would.
This film goes some way in its effort to remedy that.

Nursery teacher Jenny and her boyfriend Steve escape London for a romantic weekend away in a remote quarry surrounded by woodland. Unfortunately for them, a group of young thugs also decide to take advantage of the area for some obnoxious fun. A confrontation ensues and then next thing you know it is one-upmanship for all as the violence escalates beyond what any of them could have envisioned, eventually becoming a cat-and-mouse pursuit that is as relentless and uncompromising as its villains.
Steve, played by Michael Fassbender before he hit it big with X-Men Origins and Prometheus, is all logic and confidence, sure that he can get the thugs to calm down with his ‘I’m one of the kids shtick’, reverting to aggression when that fails.
Jenny (Kelly Reilly), on the other hand, seems to sense the danger right away and wants to just keep the peace at any cost. It is in her that we see ourselves and in her actions and reactions we see our truth. She is not super-human, she does not become Rambo, she does not do foolish things, and the circumstances which put her most in harms way are the result of misfortune and bad timing, not any stupidity on her part.
The Chav thugs are accurately portrayed by a collection of young British actors, all scarily believable. You can see the threat and fear in their eyes and yet they manage to find a humanity in these characters that makes them all the more frightening.
Special mention should go to Thomas Turgoose of ‘This is England’ fame and Jack O’Connell as head thug Brett – he is truly menacing.
Directed with a great sense of pace and restraint by James Watkins, a man who seems to understand the efficacy of sound, that sometimes what you hear is far worse than what you see.
There are also some powerful sequences in this film; the initiation scene is utterly burned into my memory as is the ‘fire’ scene, the final denouement is bleak, confronting and cruel.
And yet I believed it all, I believed these characters and their struggle, I believed in those thugs and one glance at the news will confirm that this situation is certainly not far from the realms of possibility.
Eden Lake is the sort of film that you want to look away from, it is no joyride horror, no OTT torture porn, no silly creature feature. This is horror with a more human face than we are used to seeing and for this reason it scared the hell out of me. I thought about it for days and it still feels fresh to me writing about it now.
If horror really is a reflection of the society we live in (as I believe it is) than we should watch this film and take heed. For in some pockets of the Western world, this is the youth of today.
And if that is true, then God help us all.

9/10

 

Reviews From Bed

Whilst suffering from the dreaded super-flu like virus that has afflicted me for the last 5 weeks (and in truth, is still vehemently clinging to my immune system in the form of a very persistent cough) I managed to view a movie or two.
A pair of films that I watched over two consecutive Fridays, tucked up in bed and feeling sorry for myself were ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ and it’s remake – ‘The Uninvited’; now with my health all but renewed, I can review them.

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A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003

Two sisters arrive at a remote house where their father and step-mother await their return, the former with resignation, the latter with a nervous kind of spite.


The sister’s – Soo Mi and Soo Yeon – have a common enemy in the step-mother and they are bonded not only as sisters but also in the shared belief that the step-mother was responsible for their mother’s death.

There are things here I’d like to tell you but I won’t because they are things you should discover on your own, not the least of which is the mystery of the mother’s death, but also the small clues throughout this film that add up to a terrible truth. When you watch this, take note of every passing glance, every small phrase, every inanimate object the camera falls on, they matter.
There is a richness to this film that imbues the sisters relationship with an almost palpable believability, you can see they love and care for each other, how close their bond is, how much they want to be each other’s saviour.

Appreciate also the beautiful dream-like quality of the cinematography, the sharp intrusion of the horror (in short bursts almost when least expected) has a lasting effect embodying as it does our deepest fears, the shape in the dark, the figure in the bedroom…
The final denouement when it comes is tragic and awful and damaging to all concerned, a harsh lesson in the nature of regret and how it erodes all that we treasure in ourselves.
This is a film that you watch feeling off-kilter but intrigued, repulsed but fascinated, a film that forces you to re-assess every character over and over again as new information comes to light, is that father unfeeling and cold? Or worn down by his love for someone who cannot feel it? And what of the step-mother? What is with her almost hysterical desperation?
ATOTS is a film that cannot help but impress with it’s expertly constructed story and artistic production values.
Director Ji-woon Kim has superbly built up the tension while giving nothing away – a mean feat in any film but particularly crucial in this one.
The actors are all flawlessly cast, believable, vulnerable and accessible.
A perfect psychological horror that you won’t forget.
9/10


The Uninvited, 2008

It was inevitable that Hollywood would remake the Korean original, as successful and well-made as it was, Hollywood always seems to think it can do better.

This time around the sisters are Anna and Alex (played by Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel respectively). Anna’s story starts further back than Soo-mi’s and the film suffers from it, already you know more than you should and that sense of being dropped into the middle of someone’s life is lost somewhat when you colour it in with broad strokes of colourful dreams/flashbacks/back-story.
The storyline is similar to ATOTS but the title is not the only place the two films part ways, the sister is older in this film and therefore less sympathetic, the relationship between the sisters is not as well-realised, the boyfriend a distraction, the red herring a mistake.

Emily Browning, David Strathairn as the father and Elizabeth Banks (who plays the step-mother) are all solid in their roles, the direction by The Guard brothers is adequate and at times, nicely restrained.
There are some chills to be had but they are short lasting and I can only really recall one that truly revolted me (the back!!).
Perhaps if this film had not been a remake it would have stood more steadily on it’s own feet, it is not a bad film, just average and conventional, even the twist is dumbed down and sorely lacking the emotional impact that resonated so soundly in ATOTS.

The issue here is that it IS a remake; and a pale, insipid retooling of a film that did everything so right the first time cannot help but look even worse by comparison.
The cheesy, Hollywood ending had me cringing.
Stick to the original, this is just nowhere near as good.
6/10

 

Acolytes

The definition of the word ‘acolytes’ is as follows: devoted followers or attendants; it is a pity the film-makers didn’t research this before naming their movie, as there are no acolytes here.

The latest Aussie horror is out on DVD and while it has some promise it fails to deliver on any of them.

Young high school student Mark (Sebastian Gregory) stumbles upon a scene in his local woods involving a fresh grave and a man in a butterfly-decorated 4WD leaving the area. He shares his discovery with his friends James (Joshua Payne) and Chasely (Hanna Mangan-Lawrence) and they return to the scene to unearth what they imagine is buried cash or drugs.
Their fun turns nasty, however, when they uncover a body.
Through a convoluted series of events the boys come to the conclusion that their grim unearthing could help them exact revenge upon their nemesis – Gary Parker (Michael Dorman), so they begin a search for the identity of the killer.
This film heads down several interesting paths but never fulfils any of them. The reason behind the revenge is intriguing but not fully explored, the ‘Apt Pupil’ interest in the serial killer is touched on but left alone, the love triangle between the three teens is unique but unrealised.
Joel Edgerton as the serial killer in question is another incomplete thing about this film, he does a great job with what he is given but though the films most compelling character, his screen time is limited, his impact is stymied by shortened scenes and unexplored motivations. Plus, he looks like the prototype of the quiet-man serial killer, with his tinted 80’s specs and his thick paedophile moustache, he looks a bit too BTK to have ever been anything but a killer.
The other villain in this piece is Michael Dorman’s character, who’s all tightly wound anger and bristling testosterone – he is a wonderful contrast to Edgerton’s mild mannered sociopath.
The main issue I had with this film were the teen leads – Sebastian Gregory does an acceptable albeit mumbly job as Mark but Mangan-Lawrence’s performance as Chaseley is bloodless and boring and Payne’s work as James is just bizarre, his acting range somewhere between gormlessness and inane toneless yelling, he is never believable or sympathetic.
An intriguing idea for a film that is cluttered, uneven and full of plot-holes, it is still well filmed by John Hewitt with some great gore/horror at the end and a twist that while makes little sense, is interesting none-the-less.
5.5/10

 

Drag Me To Hell

My friend Michelle rang last week and asked what I was doing and would I like to go with her to see Drag me to Hell at ‘Knifepoint’ Shopping centre. As I was, at the time of her call, in bed wearing long johns, 2 cats on my lap, reading the paper and stuffing my face with pancakes, I said “sure” and she came over to sip cups of peppermint tea whilst I made myself presentable to the public.

After some vigorous vegetarian food shopping we headed to the selected session, popcorn in hand, prepared to be frightened (her) and grossed out (me).
One of us got our wish…..and it wasn’t Michelle.

Cued by the lurid title and director Sam Raimi’s previous efforts, I expected a humorous and disgusting thrill ride and that is almost what I got.
Story summary: Loan officer Christine (Alison Lohman) under pressure to improve her lot by her longed-to-be-forgotten redneck past, her bank manager boss (David Paymer), upper class boyfriend (Justin Long) and said boyfriend’s family, decides to take a stand with the wrong little old lady and denies a mortgage extension from a gypsy/witch who promptly curses her to be tormented by demons for three days before being claimed by Hell itself.

A simple enough story but with a lot of room for things to go horribly wrong – should the old lady look cartoonish instead of evil, should the ‘torments’ prove to be silly rather then intimidating, should Christine’s actions appear to be foolish rather than strong, it could all fall in a heap.
Luckily, most of these things are pulled off with aplomb. There is much to enjoy here if you’re willing to play along.

The car park scene was effective and provided the only real ‘scares’ but was pretty vile and put poor Michelle off her popcorn for the rest of the movie. The torments were decidedly crazy-making for Christine to live through and her actions were nearly all acceptable with the notable exception of one frankly unbelievable plot twist involving a kitten, now as a cat lover I am biased but I just did not believe that her character would do what the director made her do, it was a plot device and maybe in a movie as silly as this one that isn’t as important but it still took me out of the story.

It is also important to note that the ending is VERY sudden and quite surprising, something that regular readers will know I enjoy – give me an ending I don’t expect and I’m a happy woman.

Alison Lohman was a good choice to play the lead, she is plucky, brave, and beautiful; Justin Long also works for me as her boyfriend, being in a thankless role is hard but he still managed to make an impact even as the ‘straight man’.

It’s nice to watch a film and be in the hands of a director who knows what he is doing, Sam Raimi’s films always have a certain look and feel and Drag me to Hell is no exception, here are the strange angles and zoom/pullbacks and crazy close-ups etc. we’ve come to expect, the puppety animals and kooky characters.
Lets face it, if you’ve seen the Evil Dead trilogy and dug it then you’ll also enjoy Drag me to Hell.

As for Michelle and I? We enjoyed it a lot but didn’t love it, it wasn’t quite as funny as I thought, not quite as clever, but it never lagged, was original not some dodgy remake of an old classic or a rip-off of an Asian horror, and I did have fun.

A most entertaining way to spend a Saturday afternoon and well worth getting out of your long johns for.

7.5/10

 

Mum and Dad

When you tell people you enjoy watching horror movies, and those people look at you with disgust and declare “Ugh, I don’t know how you can watch that stuff”, it is this movie that they are imagining.
I am not sure how matt and I watched this either.
Mum & Dad tells the story of a young Polish girl who is kidnapped by a twisted British family, tortured and… basically that’s it.
It is hard to review as there was no real plot, no real characterisation (motives? nup, character arcs? nup, humanity? nup), no sense of reality, no point really.
Essentially a Polish girl who we know nothing about and therefore cannot empathise with, who seems to have no-one to miss her as we see no police involvement, no family members searching, not even an employer wondering where she is, is taken by a sick family for no reason other than an excuse to disgust the audience.
This film was boring, made no sense and was peopled with characters you cared nothing for.
Worse still, it is badly directed, appallingly scripted with overblown, exaggerated acting and seems to exist purely to lurch from one atrocious scene to the next.
Nasty, grimy pointless torture porn nonsense.
Made me want to shower for a very very long time.

0/10

 

Jennifer’s Body

You know those friends that you have a history with, who knew you before you had evolved into who you are now, those friends with whom you no longer have anything in common bar in-jokes and embarrassing pasts, and now aren’t even sure if you like? That’s the relationship featured in Jennifer’s body.

Jennifer (Megan Fox – brains in her booty) and Needy (Amanda Seyfried of, gulp, ‘Mama Mia’ fame) are sandpit friends, i.e. friends since they were toddlers and this almost symbiotic friendship has devolved to the point where they are more or less frenemies.

Around this twosome screen writer Diablo Cody (Juno) has woven a twisted little tale of demon possession punctuated by her famous teenspeak banter and put-downs.

A night on the town turns into a night of death, destruction and human sacrifice brought about by ‘Low Shoulder’ band member Adam Brody (The OC), and Jennifer is just not the same afterwards, only no-one seems aware of the body count she’s been racking up except Needy.

Throw in a lesbian make out session, the interesting ‘mean girls’ style love you/hate you element that teen girls can sometimes create between them, Megan Fox skinny dipping in the lake and a prom final scenario and you got some pretty tantalising stuff for the average horror movie goer.

Some luscious cinematography and a pretty decent soundtrack do not a hit film make however and I was surprised when I went online to read what fellow film-goers thought only to be confronted by some pretty hateful diatribes.

The issues people had were sound ones – no, teenagers don’t really talk in witty soundbytes and yes, it appears that Megan Fox really does believe in the ‘just part your lips and pant’ variety of acting (although I gotta admire anyone who can get so much mileage and moolah out of just looking parched).

But if you are just looking for some solid b-movie thrills and spills with a few laughs and some truly committed acting from Amanda Seyfried, this just may be the movie for you.

Yes, its silly and Megan Fox is so out of her element its almost awkward, but I gotta admit I kinda liked it.

Don’t listen the haters, check your brain at the door and relax, this is one fun ride…

7.5/10

 

The Last Exorcism

There is a big problem with this movie – the posters are scarier than the film itself.

I have to admit that just seeing those posters around movie theatres a few months ago was certainly getting me very excited about this upcoming release, it looked like a mix between ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ – two of the most frightening films for me in recent memory.

Maybe my expectations were unfair, maybe I wanted more than this film was ever able to deliver, but to say it failed to live up to either of those movies is being kinder than I feel.

When the movie ended last night I was more focused on what had gone right rather than what had gone wrong and therefore just felt mildly disappointed. Now I actually feel angry, because nothing in film pisses me off more than a missed opportunity.

Cotton Marcus, a preacher questioning his faith, agrees to go out to the remote bible-belt farm owned by the Sweetzer family, who claim their daughter Nell has been possessed by a demon. Cotton takes a film crew of two to document his last ‘exorcism’ – a ‘show’ he basically puts on for families as it seems that their belief in the charade of possession is so strong that the act of exorcism ‘cures’ their loved ones. It also, as he puts it, “helps pay the bills”.

However, things are not as they seem at the Sweetzer farm and it’s not long before things go very pear-shaped indeed.

So, what went right with this movie? The cast is good and strong, some nasty scenes (countdown to ten anyone?) were very effective, the decision to go minimal with the demonic ‘make up’ was a sound one and the character of the preacher was unique and interesting.

What went wrong? Pretty much everything else.

The hand held camera was supposed to add realism for the audience but you can’t have that and also have tension music, you cant have realism and have the characters act so idiotically, why didn’t they just call the police? They had cell phones right? Why didn’t they just leave? Why they couldn’t do those things was never addressed (a sin in horrors in my opinion) therefore the characters’ behaviour seemed totally irrational.

At the beginning of the film we are walked through how exorcisms are faked for families and then actually watch it being enacted with Nell’s family. Big mistake, because later we are expected to see Cotton do those things for real and be scared by them, a magician can’t reveal their secrets and then think you’ll be amazed by them later, the moment has gone.

Not to mention that a film like this, made mockumentary style, relies on a slow ratcheting of tension punctuated with moments of fear; to cripple it from the beginning with comedy is just stupid film-making, it’s like expecting a car to drive when you’ve already let the air out of the tyres, it doesn’t work.

Horrors can be humorous and still work effectively to scare us (see Scream, American Werewolf in London, Severance, Dead Snow) but its all down to where the humour is placed (as small tension releases throughout the film) and how they work (not to derail the scares that are soon to happen). They cannot be outright comedies and still expect to scare you.

Then we come to the ending, the film drags itself through half-realised scares (exasperating as some of them could have really popped instead of fizzled), ill-placed comedy and unconvincing scenes of ‘terror’ (the cat, Cotton couch sleeping and artwork moments all come to mind); only to reach a rushed and tacked-on ending that just stopped everything dead.

I had no issue with the concept of the ending per se but it was handled so badly and so conventionally but at the same time so unconvincingly (why are you all just standing there???) that I just couldn’t get onboard. The whole movie needed editing to make it tenser, sharper, quicker, better sound editing to really play up the ‘possession’, better camera work to make more use of the hand held, less comedy, more creepiness and a fully explored ending because it was an intriguing if not entirely new concept.

So in the end, the bad outweighs the good by a large measure and a film that could’ve been chilling, ended up being frustrating.

What a pity..

5/10


 

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