Plot: After moving to a new town, a true-crime writer discovers a cache of videotapes depicting brutal murders that took place in the very house (among others) he just bought. As he tries to solve the mystery behind the crimes, a sinister force threatens his own family.
My Review: Going into this movie I had two expectations. One, that the movie would end up being about a demon. And two, that I wasn’t going to like it because it was going to be about a demon. I was partially right. I actually enjoyed the movie a lot…until about the last 15 minutes. This movie is like a serial killer sort of crime/thriller movie with a whodunnit…and then the supernatural aspects show up…
The story is about the Oswalt family who move into a new house. A new house where a family of four were hung outside in a tree. A tree that oddly looks the same as it did the day the family was murdered – with even the same broken branch hanging there. Maybe I missed how long ago the family had been murdered I’m not sure. But it seems a little odd to me. Anyhow, a mother, father, and two children were killed. The third child went missing and was never heard from again.
Mr. Oswalt is a true crime writer who is writing a book about the family that was murdered. His wife asks that he and their children not be subjected to any information about the case, especially the children, as their son suffers from night terrors and it seems as though there have been issues with it in the past. So, he keeps everything from her, including the fact that the murders actually took place IN their house. Um, does she not leave her house? I mean really, how long do they even live there for? You’d think she’d find out that information somehow! She does later find out, and boy oh boy is she pissed. I would be too!
Anyhow, while getting all their stuff moved into the house, Ellison (Mr. Oswalt) comes across a box of old home movies. Only they aren’t really home movies. Instead they are videos of families who have been stalked and murdered over the span of the last 50 years…all in different locations and all having one thing in common…one of the children in the family goes missing after the murders. Instead of going to the police with the information and the videos, he chooses to keep it to himself and investigate it for his book.
Of course things start getting weird around the house, the viewer sort of asks themselves if its going to be a haunting case or a demon case. It seemed pretty obvious to me before I even watched the movie, but became even more obvious once I saw strange symbols during the viewings of each crime scene, and of course seeing the creepy demon faced person in the videos as well. I gotta say that it made no sense that Mr. Oswalt NEVER turns on the lights when he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking someone is in the house. No way in hell I’d go around with no lights looking for someone. First thing I’d do is turn on every light as I go.
While the police don’t really take kindly to him and what he does, he does get the help of one of the officers (at one point I really thought that cop was gonna be a bad guy). This officer tells him about a local professor that knows all about the occult and so Ellision learns what the symbol is all about. I won’t go into details other then to say – Now, if you’ve read any of my reviews involving demons you know I’m not fond of them. But going into this one, pretty much knowing it was most likely a demon, I actually didn’t mind it. I just hoped they didn’t explain it too much. To me, they sort of screwed this up when at the end they added more to the story that just to me didn’t need to be. Again, if you know anything about what I like and hate in movies, I really dislike “creepy little kid” movies. And this one of course had a that too!
I know for the most part it seems like I didn’t like the movie. But I did, I enjoyed it all up until the last 15 minutes where they try to throw more at the viewer. Until then, the movie just seemed like a private investigator (in this case author) looking into dozens of different creepy murders. Where it just so happened he had the footage of each crime so we could witness the murders through the film.
What it really all boils down to, is that I didn’t like the complete explanation. And I was not expecting a particular aspect to the ending either, but I liked it. To me, there was really no other way to end it. Its REALLY hard to specifically say what I did and didn’t like about the ending without spoiling it. SOOOOO…for those of you who have seen it and want my opinion, or just want to be spoiled, here it is:
Gore/FX: While there isn’t blood and guts or gore, and barely any real scares, there is imagery of families – including children – dying. A few creative deaths. Some creepy ghostly children walking around in slow-mo, and a creepy looking clowny demon looking dude. A weak “jump” scare here and there. But nothing over the top. Although my niece jumped pretty good at one point.
Sexual Content: Nada.
Acting: Very good. No beef with it. Was nice to see Ethan Hawke in another horror movie. I didn’t recognize anyone else in the movie.
Overall: This was more like a crime movie turned supernatural horror movie. That’s not always bad, but I just was not pleased at all by the explanation. If you enjoy demon movies, or “creep little kid” movies, then I’m sure you will enjoy this one.