Here we go again, with another ghost story movie that really could've been improved in a number of ways... most of all in this case, if the filmmakers had had any kind of point or plot to anything they were doing. Welcome to The Disappointments Room!
Director: DJ Caruso
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Mel Raido
Co-written with Michelle.
Apparently this movie was made a few years ago, but only released last year after the studio came back from a bankruptcy filing after a bunch of lawsuits and missing loan payments. Would it really have been too much to ask for it to have just STAYED lost?
Also, director DJ Caruso was also responsible for Disturbia, which is... yeah, great, I guess? I dunno. Let's just dig into this crap pile.
This is another ghost story, paranormal type of film, in the mold of Insidious and The Haunting of Connecticut and God knows how many others. It's got a super original premise where a troubled woman, Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and her family are moving to a fancy house in the country to try and get away from their problems – something people in real life do all the time, and something totally relatable to the modern person. Not feeling good about anything? Just do the totally plausible and affordable thing and move to a fancy old house in the country. If you can't do that, YOU DESERVE TO SUFFER.
|It's so simple. Just make sure you have access to enough wealth and personal opportunity to move to a place like this at any time you're sad. Then you'll never truly be in the dark.|
The movie actually starts with the family singing in the car driving to the place, and it's really quite annoying. The dad is waaaay too into it, he looks like he's doing his best Off Broadway musical voice. Calm the fuck down, dude. I'm pretty sure there are no talent agents out on the road in the woods that will hear you.
I guess one of the first things that happens is a leak in the roof – you know, the best possible way to start off a horror film. I can't count the number of horror films I've seen where it was good but would have been improved with a subplot about a leaky roof. Also, it starts to rain – so this is a really bad movie to watch if you have to pee really bad.
They do some more boring shit like go into town to talk to the weirdest lady the movie could find – she's just super excited about everything, blathering on about how there's a hot carpenter in town who's father is an alcoholic, which is stuff I'd find really interesting if I was wasted off my ass at 3 a.m. and unaware of my surroundings. But I'm not, so this scene just falls flat.
But there's actually SOME creepy shit that starts happening... like, Dana sees a dog in the yard one time. OOOOOoooooOOOOOOOoooo! Scary!
|It turns out to just be a wheelbarrow or something. Easy mistake to make, they look exactly identical.|
There's also, of course, the weird little room they never heard about when they were looking at the house, up in the attic. It starts to weird Dana out, but she can't open it at all until a separate scene the next day when she finds a key to the place. Wonderful scriptwriting – no way at all that couldn't've happened in the same scene. But I guess the movie had to fill its insanely difficult hour and 15-minute runtime somehow! These guys really know how to write movies.
Then she does get in, and the door mysteriously closes behind her. That's just how houses in the south work – they're super polite, always wanting to make your living experience easier by taking steps out of everything. She tries to get out, but apparently the house doesn't want her to get out. Oh well. It happens. Then I guess she's just a really unmemorable person, because she falls asleep in there for several fucking hours and nobody notices she's gone.
Seriously? Her husband doesn't notice? I guess he WAS busy playing with his kid outside though. This guy is such a weirdly immature character that I'm not sure whose idea it was to do this.
|This is actually advance footage of the next Avengers movie. Looks lazy.|
The rest of this is just full of nonsense jump scares that we saw in 2004 and some really bad dream sequence scenes that are so obvious you could see them in space... like, yeah, I'm sure she really woke up and found her kid with blood all over him... no way THAT could be a hallucination. These scenes can work, but only if you have a strong story narrative and connection to the characters. This movie doesn't.
The “story” I guess is that this old house used to belong to a family who had a deformed daughter and kept her locked up in the attic. This is relayed extremely calmly to Dana by an old lady in a museum who knew about it before and didn't tell them when they initially talked about buying the house. GEE, THANKS A LOT, LADY!
|"Heh heh heh... fucking with the new people in town is the only way I feel alive anymore."|
If you're wondering, like I was, what's going on with that leaky roof thing, then never fear. The movie rushes through all that boring “horror” shit and gets back to that with a scene probably longer than the horror ones – the super handsome construction guy from the town comes to the house and openly flirts with Dana with apparently no shame, and she hashes out a deal for him to work on their house. Wow! WHAT. GRIPPING. CINEMA.
Like, what in the fuck are you doing, movie? There's barely any horror in your horror movie! This thing doesn't even seem like it wanted to be a horror film – it seems much more preoccupied with these scenes of Dana and Hot Carpenter Fuckboy there quasi-flirting. Where's the scares?
Oh – another overly long hallucination dream scene of her kid supposedly getting eaten by a dog. Yeah – not convincing me, movie.
Apparently part of the reason for all this, we find out, is because she accidentally rolled over and suffocated her other child a while back and has been traumatized ever since. This is a horribly tragic thing to have happen. But this movie just isn't doing very well at articulating that. Can't it take a page out of a film like, oh I don't know, Lars von Trier's Antichrist?
Then what? She decides to burn some old paintings in the house for... better interior decorating, I'm guessing.
But who cares about that? What's going on with her and that carpenter guy now?! I guess he finally takes it too far when he offers to sleep over when her husband is away. Ooh, shot down like a U.S. government drone flying over the farm of a devout Luddite with a gun.
|Keep in mind, this movie is less than 80 minutes long, and this is what we're focusing on.|
How about a scene where the husband is talking to a therapist about his wife's troubles? Is THAT going to be any good?
|He is actually talking to just a pair of legs.|
What is this movie's fascination with showing us scenes like this that have NOTHING to do with the movie? I get it, character development is good. But they're not developing characters! They're just showing us random bullshit that distracts from the point. It's like if The Shining took a detour to show us Wendy and Jack sitting at the table talking about what color curtain to put in their bathroom at home, no scares or anything else revealed. Just ridiculous.
After finding the grave of the deformed girl in the woods, Carpenter Wonder Boy is then killed by a ghost himself, and hung in a tree where Dana finds him. Later on, it's revealed that apparently he wasn't really in the tree. Even though we see him killed by the ghost from his own point of view, apparently that DIDN'T really happen. These ghosts are up to some super complex Houdini type shit, I'll tell you.
|It's extra funny if he really did die though - in that case, apparently they just leave him out there to rot while they have their little family therapy session in the house later. What a bunch of dicks.|
I guess there's some sort of a “climax” after that, where she learns through magical unexplained psychic ghost powers that this old guy in the house murdered the disabled girl in the attic. What an awesome revelation that I truly care about.
Then, I guess, the ghost of that guy tells her that her son will die, so she runs to his room with a hammer and attacks a pillow that she thinks is the old man's head trying to attack her son! But really it's just, you know, a pillow, and she scared her kid. Whoops.
|Wow, what an imagination she has! She should go into creative writing.|
Then she and her husband talk in the kitchen about her grief from letting her baby die, which wasn't her fault, but really kind of was. Her husband says it's cool and they can work on shit, and they hug and then the screen goes to a sunny day with them leaving the house. Because that's all you need to cure emotional trauma! A hug and a 'it'll be okay' and then you're fine. Nothing else necessary! Wow! I never knew it was that easy. Apparently anything is fixable with enough money to move to a nice country house, move out and the support of a loving family. That truly is a great moral, movie. Really learned a lot from this!
This is a lame and awful movie. It didn't even feel like a finished film. But I will give it this – its plot was generic tripe I've seen a thousand times and should've been retired five years ago, but at least this movie didn't spend too much time on it. This one was trying really hard NOT to even be a fucking horror movie, what with all the time spent on the roof fixing plot, that they barely spent any time on the usual cliches I hate.
Speaking of that, what ever did happen with the roof of that place? I guess the family moved out before it could get done, which is the real reason I think this sucks! No resolution to its main plot!
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