Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), David F. Sandberg (based on the short film by)
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello
Plot: Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother’s experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 76% Audience 61%
Why I Watched It: A horror film that didn’t get terrible reviews, I was hopeful.
Random Thoughts: When I first heard of the film and saw the trailer I thought wow this is Darkness Falls, not a lot of people will recall this movie but I liked it and this is a very very similar plot. I want to give a shout out to Teresa Palmer, she works a lot but doesn’t seem to get the buzz she deserves, she’s a very good actress who has done not only some very good genre work but has shown she’s willing to take risks and do different and difficult roles.
What I liked: I’m shocked to say there’s a lot to like about the film, it has a great opening and sets up the tension from the jump and it kills off a name actor before the opening credits. The film is very well directed and filmed, it’s a slick looking film and looks a lot more expensive than it is so credit to the director David F Sandberg, he’s someone to watch for sure.
The film is a strange hybrid of Darkness Falls and The Ring, the one thing the film does it plays it straight, no tongue in cheek this is a balls out horror film with real stakes. I liked the fact that they use the light gimmick to build tension but the film doesn’t just rely on it the film does try to build a backstory and real characters. The real surprise here is they flesh out the mother character played by Maria Bello, she’s actually a very important character and she’s very tragic, Bello is good here she has to go between crazy and a threat to someone who is brave and is trying to spare her family. The acting is good across the board for this type of film it’s very good. Teresa Palmer is good here and carries most of the action at the beginning.
The film is short and for horror films that’s almost always a good thing and here the film moves very quick, the pacing and tone are great once the film kicks into gear it doesn’t really stop. It’s a rare horror film that doesn’t feel padded and it doesn’t have a weak second act.
What I Didn’t Like: The ending is a bit iffy for me, it plays fine but once you think about it well let’s say it leaves a bad taste in your mouth about one character. Also once done the film you have to wonder why Maria Bello wasn’t the lead, it’s her story and she’s the key to everything, you have to think they wanted to appeal to a younger audience. The only flaw in the film is how her character is treated, she’s played as a plot point at first then she’s a main part then they do something that kind of betrays what they were saying earlier.
Final Thoughts: This is a pretty good horror film, it’s a film that takes the genre seriously and also tries to do some things differently. It’s a solid, effective and a tad unnerving horror film.