Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner
Promotional material for this movie is very promising. The posters and trailers are suitably creepy and allude to an exciting dark horror thriller. However what you get is a film that has a really good underlying premise that is extremely poorly executed.
When Nicole Barlow, a former drug addict, heads back to her family home for her mother’s funeral she disappears after making a call to her young daughter. This prompts her sister Annie to also return to the homestead to try and find out what happened to her. As she and local detective, Creek (Van Dien) investigate the disappearance it quickly becomes clear that their late mother had been hiding some very sinister secrets. As Annie tries to figure out what is going on, the body count rises and unless she can figure out the skeleton in her family closet she may be next.
While that all sounds very exciting, this actually drags along at a plodding pace. There are ridiculous plot devices used to convey a point; such as Annie using voice recognition to call people on her phone instead of just dialling the number lest we should be in any doubt who she is ringing, and characters being introduced willy nilly for no reason other than to move the story along. The script is incredibly poor and there are many occasions when the words the characters are saying bear no resemblance to real dialogue. Character development is practically nil and character background is delivered via a series of boring exchanges rather than anything the characters do, with most of it being irrelevant to the film.
This would all be forgivable if the effects were fabulous – after all you can forgive a horror film anything if it makes you jump out of your seat. Unfortunately when effects are used they are cheesy beyond belief and clearly done for next to nothing. Sometimes less can be more and if your budget doesn’t extend to doing something well it is better to allude to it rather than try to show it. Some of the best horror flicks show very little but rather suggest imminent terror, although clearly McCarthy hasn’t taken a leaf from their books.
Without ruining the ending I will say that if McCarthy had stuck to the basic underlying idea of this film and taken out all of the supernatural elements, he could have had a pretty decent thriller. Instead what he now has on his hands is a bona fide cliché that is deeply unsatisfying and doesn’t tick any of the boxes you would expect a horror movie to. It smacks of a straight to DVD movie and even at that it is unlikely anyone will come away gushing about it.