Relativity Media, FilmNation Entertainment, A Bigger Boat,
Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, Nolan Gerard Funk, Krista Bridges, Jon McLaren, Jonathan Malen, Joy Tanner, Allie MacDonald
Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) just moved into a rural Pennsylvania house next to a wilderness state park. But they notice an empty house just across the yard in the back. Then late at night they notice a light in the window. It turns out this is “the murder house” where a small girl killed her parents and then ran away and disappeared. It seems the big brother who was away at the time of the murders has returned to the house and is fixing it up so he can sell it. Sarah is worried because Elissa has inherited the trait her mother has, of picking up needy guys and trying to save them, and Elissa has just made friends with Ryan (Max Thieriot). This suspenseful horror film starts gentle and builds and builds and builds to a surprising climax.
Well, it’s hard to say where to go with this film. It arrives just in time for the fall scream season, and it does definitely scare you a few times. But the scares are more of the “loud noise when you least expect it” times. Certainly Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue make a really nice mom and daughter team. There’s a nice guy, local cop, and some nasty townsfolk. The story isn’t exactly new. This story has been done a number of times. But the problem here is that there are so many huge holes in the story that you just can’t overlook them. There is a rule in film making that it is not a great idea to have characters lie to the audience to mislead them (it’s really lazy writing) but the film cannot lie to the audience itself. This one does. When a character does something that is completely unrealistic that no one would ever do, just to mislead the audience that’s a foul. Well this film does this repeatedly. There are so many things wrong with the story that is told here that you just can’t get over. There are several plot twists, including one in the very last seconds, that will probably make you walk away thinking, “Why did they …… ?”
The theater was full of teens, who laughed and screamed, put their feet up on the seat, and for the most part, put down the phones for a while and watched the film, so I have to give it that, but the holes are just so BIG. If you do try to watch this, please suspend belief and don’t try to understand what’s going on. Just enjoy the scenery, and jump when the loud sounds startle you. It’s not a horrible film, but for the sake of the effort the cast put into it, I’m glad I went to see it, but I don’t think this film is going to find legs in the theater. I have a feeling it’s going to fade away until something with a little better story comes along.
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