A gripping and unsettling collection of frightening stories that is dripping with atmosphere and unease. It doesn’t quite stick the landing, but the entire movie preceding the finale is worth seeing.
The film follows a journalist who is investigating a series of supernatural stories. He is a skeptic and seeks to disprove each one in turn. The setup is simple and has already been seen once this halloween season, but the execution of each individual story is beyond original. Each story has incredible atmosphere and settings that are brand new to the genre.
The first involves a night watchman whose station is in the scariest basement possible. It is made scarier by the fact that it looks likes a million industrial basements anyone could run into. The realism of the location as well as the way it is shot and the tension the director infuses is pure scary movie bliss.
The second story involves a young man who is terrified of an event that happened in the woods when his car broke down. The young actor is mesmerizing and deeply powerful in his portrayal of fear and unease. His fear is infectious and terrifies without the use of film tricks.
The final story involves the ghost of an unborn baby and the horror it inflicts upon the would be parents. It is set in a wealthy house and the vast open moors of the English countryside. The build up to seeing the baby in the cradle is like screws turning. It is fantastic.
The film dives into what I call confusing horror. Reality begins to break down in the final moments of the film as the skeptic isn’t sure what to believe. Great unease and fear is generated by confusing the audience. The viewer has no idea what is happening and as they try to piece it all together new pieces keep falling in their lap. It is usually very frustrating and just plain annoying, but done well as it is here it is fun rather than infuriating. That said, it doesn’t quite work in the very end. The final twist isn’t as cool or as original or as fun as the movie itself. This is incredibly unfortunate, but doesn’t ruin the entire movie. It’s absolutely worth seeing. I for one will be watching it again.
Definitely my cup of tea. It would have been an A, but it is an -A.