Basically this is like a young adult version of Sinister and Insidious but not nearly as terrible as that sounds. The old trope of a young family moving into a new home that happens to be haunted is the basic premiss of the film, mixed with some teenage angst/love. The opening scene is a pretty quick attention grabber in which a man uses some sort of strange recording box device to talk to the dead. This inadvertently summons an evil spirit that takes over his body and forces him to watch himself commit suicide.
We then get a brief narrative of the history of the homes former occupants, the Morello’s, before we’re then introduced to the protagonist of the film, Frank Asher. He’s the second oldest of three children, and the only boy. He meets a young girl named Samantha one night while walking and finds himself drawn to her. Sam is beaten and berated by her alcoholic father on a nightly basis and goes out in the woods to be alone.
At first she resents Frank’s wanting to help her, but then sneaks into his house for shelter. His liberal parents don’t seem to take any mind to this at all, which is good for him because she totally has sex with him. However, things go sour really quick when they dig up a strange old box in Franks room. This of course summons some really angry ghosts, and the two love birds spend the film trying to convince Frank’s parents it’s real, and figure out how to handle the situation.
The focal point of the story is the romance between Sam and Frank. Corny as it may be, I bought it. Harrison Gilbert does a really good job playing as Frank; from his introduction you get the sense that this is a good kid. He’s very thoughtful and kind-hearted. The instant attraction to Sam and his desire to help her comes across as genuine and that’s what sells the film. Now, this isn’t a romance flick here, and there are some good jump scares and a sense of foreboding throughout the film. But it comes across “soft” due to this being basically a pre-teen romance. I didn’t really expect anything hard-edged from it, but then the ending of the film came and completely shattered those expectations. It’s one of the crueler endings I’ve seen in a while.
This isn’t a particularly scary movie, and it feels kind of bland. But I watched it on a whim last night on Netflix because I couldn’t sleep after work, and it hit the spot. It’s something different in the horror field and it’s well acted enough to make it believable. It clocks in at a little over 80 minutes so it manages not to overstay it’s welcome and I never felt bored through the film, and that’s really all I ask.
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