I was excited. I’ll admit it. The trailer was on my most played list, my friends were tagging me in on its social media promotions, and I had its release date on my calendar. My YouTube show had recorded a trailer reaction with Matt and I clearly enthusiastic about the coming of this film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2-ngT8zQUQ)
It seemed to me to have all the potential to be THE horror film I had been waiting for – a sparse and sharp story, a hardline director (Fede Alvarez of Evil Dead remake fame) and the promise of some vicious violence.
So what went wrong?
Well first lets talk about what went right – this film had a killer premise: Three down on their luck burglars decide to invade the home of a blind veteran only to have the tables turned on them. The acting by all concerned was faultless, with Stephan Lang as the blind home-owner giving a truly committed performance, major props to him. Nice lighting, set design with attention to details pertinent to a blind person, tight direction that makes good use of the essentially limited set.
The problems are many – jump scares that fall flat, no capacity for creeping dread so well put to use in other similar films such as Panic Room and Hush (to paraphrase Alfred Hitchcock – if you show the audience the bomb before it goes off they get ten minutes of dread and build up as opposed to just setting it off and giving the audience a ten second jump), leads that all fail to connect with the audience, characters doing very, VERY foolish things that cause their own downfall and take me out of the film immediately, the tedium of ‘inside the house/briefly out of the house/back in the house’ antics, absolutely no thrills and a ridiculous plot twist that happens three quarters into the film that totally jumps the shark and is quite simply almost laughably awful.
However, the biggest mistake? This film existed almost entirely of plot holes. I literally had an hour long conversation afterwards with my friend Miss C that was mostly us exclaiming “And what about when this happened!?” that’s how much of this film was nonsensical. Some of my favorites? The blind guy stumbling around in a panic while his own alarm goes off even though HE KNOWS THE CODE, him smelling shoes 20 feet away but he cant smell a sweaty dirty burglar standing next to him, don’t breathe because he might hear you but he doesn’t hear a window breaking in his house, his ability to get out of handcuffs and his ability to ‘defeat’ an inhalant sleeping agent, finding a car a mile away from his house with nothing to go on, and so many more.
Not to mention the ending – how absolutely ridiculous! Honestly its beyond belief what film-makers expect us to just accept without question these days.
oh and another note to you Mr Alvarez, when you have characters pause to adjust a backpack or breathe a ‘phew’ sigh of relief when they’re still in harms way it just makes them look stupid. I did appreciate the nod to Cujo though..
So much more could’ve been made of the house, the plot, the characters, this just had potential to be so much more – harder, tauter and cooler.
Immediately after I saw this film I though it was ok, nothing special and a little disappointing but ok. The more I think about its inconsistencies and lazy writing the angrier I get.
All I want is a good scary horror, why does that seem to be too much to ask?