Im a sucker for a good haunted house ghost story, and this is good haunted house movie. It has a lot of great scares and a wonderful atmosphere.
The movie opens as so many haunted house movies do with a couple moving into an old house. This couple is Anne and Paul, and they are grieving the recent death of their son. When things begin to go bump in the night Anne believes that their son’s spirit is reaching out and trying to communicate with them. However as the house feeds and becomes more powerful it’s evil nature comes to light.
I love these creaky old house stories. Maybe it’s my overactive imagination, but I love watching a haunted house movie and then feeling creeped out by every creak and groan in the house as I go to bed. I love that feeling, and this movie definitely gave me that feeling.
There are a couple of very smart choices that separate this movie from the average haunted house film. The first is the main characters desire to stay. Anne really believes it’s their son in the house, and she will not race for anything. Way too often these movies bend over backward and break the suspension of disbelief when it comes to the family staying. Logically the first sign of ghosts should send the family running.
Another great choice is the house itself. It is a very mundane and cozy house. It’s the kind I could see myself living in. It’s not a great gothic mansion full of ominous shadows and cobwebs. This is an unassuming house. This fact makes it all the more relatable and believable.
Finally the fast pace of the film is excellent. Family moves in. Things go bump in the night. Terror ensues. Credits. No need to draw this way out. We get our story. We get our chills. Good to go. The movie moves.
It’s also nice and scary. I was squirming in my seat many times. I jumped a couple times. Its a scary movie.
What didn’t work for me was the convoluted ending. They add too much at the end about the town and the people. They cram in some backstory that doesn’t fly. Explaining ghosts makes them way less scary especially when the explanations aren’t great.
This movie scared me, and it reminded me never to venture into cellars. It’s totally my cup of tea. A-
So Anne and Paul are grappling with their sons death in their own ways. They have a tender and supportive relationship. Anne wants so badly to believe that their son is the ghost in the house.
What’s actually in the house is a family of ghosts. They are dark and shadowy. Until they get into the light when we realize they aren’t shrouded in darkness they are burned and charred with crispy blackened faces and white glowing eyes. Great design
The couples neighbors come over late one night and share the history of the house. Dave tells them about the evil family that owned the house and died there a hundred years ago. But it’s revealed that he’s lying. The town destroyed this family and the house is full of evil. Every 30 years the evil resurges and feeds on the family living in the house. The town supports this feeding for reasons that are a little murky. It sounds like the evil attacks the town if it isn’t fed by the family in the house, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also the story is so self contained within the house that the town feels too removed to be of any real consequence.
The charbroiled family attacks and kills anyone or wants. Starting with the electrician sent into the basement to fix the furnace. This boy is awesome. Moving shadows. A little girl in the corner riding to frightening height. Ghosts charging directly at the camera. Awesome. This bit freaked me right out.
The ghosts go on a rampage at the very end as the house is full of dumb townspeople who should know better. They brutally kill a bunch of people on a massacre that feels like it’s both earned and from a different movie entirely.
After the townspeople are dead Anne and Spaulding are left alive. They wonder why when they see the spirit of their son. He was with them. It’s implied that their son was protecting them from the evil, but that’s not clear. It’s also not entirely clear if it is their son. They think it is, but they aren’t batting 1,000 when it comes to identifying ghosts.
Overall the ending is satisfying but overly complicated and muddled. I love enough of this movie to overlook the ending, but it is messy.
Check this one out. I still recommend it.