Alright, it took me a while to get around to seeing this one. I didn’t love it, but I certainly didn’t hate it.
In a bit of a dick move, true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), moves his family into a house that was the crime scene of the current book he’s working on, without telling his wife, Tracy (Juliet Rylance) or mentioning it to their two children, painter Ashley (Clare Foley) and son, Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario), who suffers from night terrors.
Trouble begins for Ellison when he discovers a box of Super 8 film in the home’s creepy attic, along with creepy drawings depicting murder scenes being observed by something referenced as Mr. Boogie (and I don’t think he’s there to dance).
Watching the film, he finds that each is a recording of a family, and their subsequent brutal murders, as Ellison prowls throw the images he finds a troubling figure captured by the camera at each massacre.
Perhaps there’s something more than murder going on here, something supernatural and dark, and now it has chosen Ellison and his family as the next target.
The film really isn’t filled with any surprises, but that’s because most of them were actually shown in the trailer when that was released, so nice call there marketing department.
There are some nice and creepy moments through the course of the film, but not enough of them to wrap you right up in the story. The best one sees Ellison wandering through a darkened house at night (why he doesn’t turn on any of the lights at any point must mean he’s worried about his hydro bill more than what may be hiding in the dark) and figures stepping in and out of the darkness around him, chasing him, dodging him, and occasionally drawing his attention with a creaking floor.
The unnatural force at work in the film, revealed to be a pagan deity named Bagul is a nice idea, an image of Bagul is meant to be Bagul itself, and serve as a portal between its realm and ours…
So there are some nice ideas at work here, a troubled almost has been writer trying to write and stressing over one last hit, an ignored family living in a crime scene house, and a series of murders instigated by some terrible and dark force.
It just doesn’t all work, and there are some missed opportunities.
Like I said, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It’s a good one to throw on to fill a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
The best part of the film is the sound editing and design. Any time one of the Super 8 films is running there’s a crackle and edge to the soundtrack that is truly creepy and disturbing, it was one of the few things to really put me on edge during the film’s run.
Sadly there are a few jump scares that you know are coming, and those always seem to cheapen the thrill of a horror movie for me, I’d rather be creeped out.
What did you think of it?