We all are afraid of something; and sometimes those can be very different things. Some of those fears come from deep seated experiences perhaps even from back in our infancy, some are influenced by what movies we have watched lately or books we’ve read or even from glancing at the news occasionally and seing how badly we treat each other and the world we inhabit. Some fears however, appear to be almost universal – spiders, clowns, sharks, ghosts and the devil (whatever you perceive that to be).
This, the latest film written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy (after the low-budget but highly effective ‘The Pact’ in 2011), seems to have a direct pipeline into the collective unconscious fears a lot of us share – that there IS evil in the world, and one day it just may come looking for you.
It starts with a story of a young girl selling her soul, segues into a tale of two sisters who are strongly drawn individuals with their own lives (shock horror!) and touches on the depressed US economy as well as looking at the impact of our choices and their consequences, before doubling back and showing us what really happened to that soul-selling girl. This is a unique narrative in that it is almost a passing of the leading-lady torch throughout the film, each character clearly defined and not in any way a cliche or cypher – rare!
The horror itself is never gratuitous, the fear very very real and there is a palpable dark power felt throughout the film that reminded me of The Exorcist or Rosemarys Baby and how difficult that is to create.
Perfomances (Naya Rivera of ‘Glee’ fame, Catalina Sandino Moreno from ‘Maria Full of Grace’ and Ashley Rickards from TV’s ‘Awkward – playing wildly against type) were uniformly all above expected with a super taut script that still allows for the true nature of terror and how it lives and breeds in the silences as much as in the screams.
The insidious nature of the things that scare us and the one-two punch of strong characters plus that tense script shows the surety of McCarthys direction and screenplay.
This is a film that frightens you with stares and barely glimpsed horrors that lurk just in frame, something you squint to see then recoil in fear, a creepiness under the skin thats not easy to shake.
I don’t know why this film wasn’t better received, I thought it was a pretty perfect horror treat.
It definitely scared me.