This might be my first review of a Netflix original movie. Normally I skip the Netflix originals while browsing through their selection of horror movies, but what drew me in was the long title and interesting description. This movie follows a young, soft-spoken hospice nurse that is taking care of an elderly, home-stricken horror author. The nurse eventually begins reading one of the author’s books and soon after discovers the truth behind the odd happenings taking place in the house. While I am disappointed with the ending (yes, unfortunately this is another great movie with a bad ending), I have to give this movie credit for doing a tremendous job of building suspense and keeping the audience’s attention. This was both written and directed by Oz Perkins, who has written a handful of horror/thriller titles and directed only one other movie. I hope he keeps at it because I want to see more horror movies from this guy.
This isn’t one of those horror movies to watch with a group of friends on a Friday night, but one to watch alone or with a couple of close friends who can appreciate the art of building suspense. This is not a gore-filled slasher or something full of jump scares; this relies on the viewer to pay attention to the details, which is something I know some people have a hard time with (I’m looking at you, ‘Truth or Dare’ fans), so if you’re one of those people then feel free to pass on this one. For those who enjoy their horror with a bit more tension, this will satisfy that need. When I say this film does a tremendous job of building suspense, I mean it does an incredible, ridiculous job of building suspense. The nurse narrates the movie throughout and does it so eloquently and intensely that you hang on her every word. The only background music you hear originates from soft, deliberate notes that are present only to accent the already suspenseful scenes. A great deal of care went into the directing and editing of this movie and it shows.
While I do recommend watching this movie if you have the time, I am disappointed with the ending and I feel the need to share it with you. If you don’t want the ending spoiled then stop reading now. If you don’t mind having the ending spoiled then please read on. As you may have discerned by now, this is a ghost movie, and the source of the ghost lies in the book written by the elderly author of which the hospice nurse is helping. That’s all well and good because this wasn’t treated just like any other ghost movie; this was treated with care and effort. However, this appears to be another case of a great movie written with no ending in mind, so an easy, lazy ending was sloppily thrown together. You see, the movie spends an hour and a half building up so much suspense that the audience’s minds race to wonder what the climax will be. Do you want to know? The hospice nurse finally sees the ghost at the end of the movie and she presumably dies of fright. Now, the ghost wasn’t scary, she was actually quite pretty and didn’t come across as dangerous, at least not to me. I’m sure if I was in that situation I would be uncomfortable, but to just die of fright after all that build-up? This was the most I had been disappointed in the ending of a horror movie in a long, long time. Especially so because the rest of the movie was so good.
I like the actors and the cinematography, and I would love to see Oz make another horror movie with the same amount of effort and creativity he put into this one. I just want the same amount of effort put into the ending. I don’t know if deadlines were involved or if there was some other form of pressure to finish the movie, but – if it were up to me – I would say take your time and make sure the ending is perfect. If I heard a movie was being made that I was really looking forward to seeing, I wouldn’t mind waiting another year if it meant the ending would be perfect. The people who appreciate the work will understand, and the idiots who don’t understand can just watch something more instantly gratifying. This reminds me a lot of the movie ‘Sinister’ which had such promise in the beginning and then just fell apart at the end, almost like the filmmakers were afraid it would be too scary for mainstream audiences. Two films that had amazing potential but lacked the ability to bring it all home.
This is a tough one for me to grade. Normally I give you a definitive “yes” or “no” on whether the movie is worth watching, but I find this one isn’t so easy to do that with. I think the movie is worth watching to appreciate how suspense should be portrayed, but the ending is so disappointing that I wouldn’t want you to suffer through it. I think I’ve made my decision.
This movie is…
90 minutes of pointless suspense leading to an abrupt, pointless ending just makes this a bad movie.
Cheers and goodnight.