The Atticus Institute (2015) – Chris Sparling

 

Available from Anchor Bay today on DVD and Blu-Ray is this horror film that takes us inside paranormal research in the 1970s.

Made to resemble a documentary, I ended up being a little divided on this title. In terms of horror and scares, there is nothing new here, all the beats are measured out into predictable jump moments. From a plot stand point and from a production angle, I rather liked what I saw.

It is the year 1976. Dr. Henry West (William Mapother) runs a psychology lab that is conducting experiments to prove psychic powers including telekinesis and ESP. When an incredibly special case, in the form of Judith Winstead (Rya Kihstedt).

Judith demonstrates unparalleled abilities, stunning West and his peers. However, strange things begin to occur in the lab, and in the personal lives of the scientists investigating and documenting Judith and her abilities. It slowly becomes clear to these people of science that there is some Thing more to Judith, there seems to be another presence inside her, one of pure evil.

When one of West’s associates advocates calling in the aid of the government, Robert Koep (Julian Acosta) shows up, and effectively takes control of the lab, with the intention of possessing the possession and if possible, weaponizing it. Unfortunately, Judith, or the thing within her has other plans, and seems to be one step ahead as events rocket towards a final confrontation (which sadly ruined the moment with some horrid CG).

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I love the idea of the government getting involved with a possession and trying to control it. This is a story idea I’d like to see explored again.

The other thing that I loved was the look of the film’s production. There are modern-day interviews with the survivors, and it’s all shot in modern-day high def, very evident on Blu-Ray, and then all of the ‘recorded footage’ from the 70s (as well as the costume design, make-up and hair) as well as its supporting materials, like photos, all look legitimate, they truly feel as if they were shot and filmed in the 1970s. At least to my eyes, they did, and that was one of the things I seriously loved about the film.

So, as mentioned, this one left me divided. There are some really nice moments, the experiments with the frog, Judith’s tests, but then there are totally predictable moments like the strobe/seizure sequence, and a number of beats in the final act.

I also like the fact that this one is posing as a documentary, and as such, with the way it’s edited and put together, it totally works, I just wanted a little bit more scare-wise.

But don’t just take my opinion for it, check it out yourself!

The Atticus Institute is available today from Anchor Bay.

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