(by Mike Anthony)
This movie is scary! I'm kind of desensitized to a lot of horror/thriller movies, but this one utilizes silence, aloneness in a house, and a SMASHING musical score of strings & screams to scare the heck out of you.
The film is a haunted house story without the home....turns out when the family moves from one location to another; the events continue. When a specialist is called in (complete with a pair of humorous "ghost trackers" with a ton of funny-gizmos and devices of their own creation) we find the real twist. No spolier here (it's in the trailers) but it isn't the house that is haunted, it's their son!
A young couple comprised of a stay-at-home mom and a busy, appearance-concious dad have three kids. Their oldest and most adventurous son "Dalton" falls in their scary attic and gets a bump in the head. Soon the bumps in the night are worsened when the boy not only falls asleep after his accident but doesn't wake up. While medicine struggles for a solution to his bizarre, injury-free coma, the parents deal with the dual stress of caring for the boy while getting the s#@t scared out of them on a regular basis.
This movie uses music well; and does an amazingly good job of creating dread and fear in a tranquil setting. The terriffic scares kept me on the edge of my seat; and despite a weak third act that starts to get a little silly the overall experience is well worth it.
Done on a small budget; this movie delivers in a big way. No surprise that it comes form the financial and production team behind "Paranormal Activity", and the duo that created the original "SAW" movie. Fans will recognize those two as director James Wan, and writer Leigh Wannel.
After a silly third-act; the final moments do return to some intensity; so sitting through a little lameness will pay off in the very end.
3 good things about this movie:
-it delivers what it promises: lotsa scares!
-the acting; especially the mother-in-law played by Barbara Hershey who seems to be locking the "mysterious mom" genre up with this role and her spot in "Black Swan".
-the use of music; including the creepy insertion of "Tiptoe Through The Tulips"
3 bad things about this movie:
-the last third gets silly--no other word to use here
-the "dad-busy-at-work" thing is a bit cliche, but does allow the mom to face the house and it's scares alone
-the gas mask, the lanterns & fog that get used for few minutes at the end; you'll see what I mean if you go
Overall rating 3.5 cookies out of five, and great for horror fans.