Release date:July 22, 2016
Studio:New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.)
Director:David F. Sandberg
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for terror throughout, violence including disturbing images, some thematic material and brief drug content)
Starring:Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello
So one of the best things about this film is that it started out as an already amazing short! I saw it months ago, and, even then, I recognized how freaky it was! By the way I HIGHLY recommend watching it, it’s outstanding. I have tripped out several of my friends with it.
Now, the fact that they fleshed out the short into a full blown story and didn’t over Hollywood it was impressive. The other cool thing (one of many) was that they brought over the original actress from the short film for a small role in this one! I really loved that!!!
Now, the film jumps right into things, while, at the same time, allowing some hints that something deeper may be going on. We start out by seeing a father burning the midnight oil at a textile factory. He seems to be going over the books, checking on files and such when his sons calls to expresses some concern over his mom as well as his own uneasy feelings. Now, of course, the dad tries to console his son and, in fact, is successful at calming him down, but, like I stated earlier, the film jumps right into it.
The first encounter with the beastie is nothing short of brutal and made much of the audience jump and scream (which, of course, I found hilarious). In addition to this we are introduced to the mom (who was played AMAZINGLY well by Maria Bello. Good grief what a performance!), who appears to be not well. There are a few scenes with her talking to herself with the son looking rightfully concerned.
The sister (played wonderfully by Teresa Palmer) is brought in and is shown to be the kind of person who isn’t keen on letting people in, but even in that we can see there’s something else going on with her. The sister (Rebecca) is a hard rocker with a, just below the surface, hidden past.
The son, Martin (played by Gabriel Bateman), is shown to be having difficulty staying awake in class and when they can’t reach mom, they call, sister. This is where the story starts to connect. Rebecca takes her brother in, which in and of itself is a nerve wracking experience due to his sister having a ton of horror imagery stemming from her metal lifestyle. It is here where we are shown that this shadowy creature is not limited to a particular location, but rather, and in the style of the japanese form of horror films, our geist follows the family! After a brief struggle with a CPS counselor Martin is returned home.
There are a number of clever elements to this film. Everything from the dialog to the action scenes and even though there were some cliches they were kept to a minimum. The biggest one being everyone backing up into the darkness.
The mystery gets peeled back in such a way that reminded me of “Orphan” and “The Conjuring”. I really enjoyed this film because it, to me, is a refreshing change from the boring Hollywood machine.
Back to the action! There are several struggles between the evil and the family as she attempts to destroy them from within. She attackes this family in amazing carpet bomb fashion, lashing out at literally everyone. It is the light that is their only defence and they use it to the best of their ability.
The fight scenes were so good that, on numerous occasions, I heard the audience scream and gasp! In fact there was even applause from nearly everyone at the end.