Talk about a movie with a lot of potential. When I saw how dark and in-your-face the opening scene was, it gave me hope for the movie. Actually the first thirty minutes of the film are so traumatic and depressing that it leaves you in silence, almost feeling guilty for wanting to see what happens next, while trying not to judge Ethan Hawke for doing the same.
The story revolves around Ethan Hawke and his family who move into a house where a whole family was hung in the backyard, and the craziness that follows after he discovers a box of Super 8 film rolls and a projector in the attic. Soon he discovers the film rolls are snuff movies that span over fifty years, and they each contain the same odd character – the face you see on the poster above. As a writer of true crime novels he feels compelled to study all of the films in detail so he can solve the murders and: “Get a bigger house, have a movie deal, and make more money than he’s ever seen”, at least that’s his reasoning to his wife.
Now, let’s get to what makes this movie Horror-ble…
1. The build-up in this movie is phenomenal, and then somewhere about halfway through the movie it just falls apart. It’s like someone started writing a great horror movie script, got distracted, and someone else stole the script and wrote in every cliche you could think of.
2. The make-up on the ‘ghost children’ looks like something you’d see on a direct-to-television movie. It’s awful. The close-ups on the ‘demon’ character make him look like one of the guitarists for Slipknot.
3. As the movie draws to a close you see more and more quick-cutaway’s compounded with loud noises which completely kills the suspense and takes the film straight to being cheesy.
4. How can you have an amazing actor like Vincent D’Onofrio and only make him a minor character that only appears twice in the film?
5. The climax of the movie is about as UN-climactic as it can get. You can tell they had no idea how to end this movie. “Eh, what do we do now? Just have the daughter kill the whole family unprovoked. Yeah, that sounds good. We’ll go with that.”
In closing, I recommend giving this movie a watch just to appreciate how a good horror movie can go bad. The make-up is cheap, the end is terrible, but the first thirty minutes definitely make it watchable.
Cheers and goodnight.