Directed By: John Pogue
Written By: Craig Rosenberg, John Pogue & Oren Moverman
Based on A Screenplay by: Tom De Ville
Cinematography By: Matyas Erdely
Editor: Glenn Garland
Cast: Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Jared Harris, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Laurie Calvert
In 1974, in Oxford, Professor Joseph Coupland invites his introspective student Brian McNeil to film his research about the supernatural with his two assistants, Krissi Dalton and Harry Abrams, and the subject Jane Harper. Jane is a young woman with no memory from the past that has been abandoned that believes she is possessed by a doll named Evey that gives telekinetic power to her. She is kept awake in an isolated house with a doll, where Prof. Coupland intends that she puts her evil energy in and then destroys the doll to healing Jane. Strange things happen in the house and Brian feels sorry for Jane and he researches her tattoo, learning an evil secret about the past of Jane.
Filmed in 2012, it sat unreleased until 2014. Which is never good, though doesn’t make this too horrible. It’s actually decent and not a total waste.
I have to say I enjoyed this film more than expected. Not as bad as I thought initially going in, but still not quite a winner either. Though it is a welcome entry into, the hammer canon of films.
The film. fits the pedigree of being a hammer film. By being quite dated in the time that it is set in. It also has the distinction of keeping a chilling atmosphere as it goes along.
While it is better in Quality the film isn’t as fun or moving as John Pogue’s Previous Directorial Debut, QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL which is a personal guilty pleasure.
The film chooses to have an Unsettling mood and scares of its bag of tricks rather than gore and violence. I applaud it for as we go through the film we feel an increasing amount of dread as we realize the characters are not prepared for what they are messing with. It becomes thrilling towards the middle though it also starts to become predictable when it begins to reveal itself.
The script was heavily rewritten for budget reasons. Which might explain the more singular locations. Leaving It to feel more creative working with what they have and giving a more haunting atmosphere.
Of course, I am not a natural fan of ghost stories so it took me a bit to get into it. Especially when the action takes place mostly in an abandoned manor that only the characters will inhabit. In other words, waiting around like sitting ducks.
I like the fact that the film shows characters come to their sense and trying to leave, by being pulled back as they aren’t safe anywhere. Unless they face off with whatever is haunting them.
Though it is not above some skin by having actress Erin Richards constantly in revealing, tight clothes as well as reasons for shots that seem to have a reason for her backside to be featured in a few shots. That I will admit are small but became distracting for me.
Though the film deals with adult themes the violence and scenes stay on a strictly PG-13 level and become obvious they must keep to their rating when certain scenes keep escalating then the camera seems to pull away or shy away from the actual act and comes back to show only the aftermath in flashes.
The film has a more gothic atmosphere it reminds one of the more classic horror tales. Especially being more set in the ’70s
It also dips its toe into being partially a found footage film to cover its fan bases and make sure some modern audience members especially the younger members.
The film’s weaknesses however are its a central story that IF unbelievable that it isn’t supernatural, occurrences just telepathy at work with a vivid imagination of suggestion. That seems ridiculous plus add in a reason to have a good footage element that while smart in its introduction feels like a reason to add in that cliche.
The film is able to hold your attention as you watch, though after it is easily forgettable, but most likely will just be confused with memories of other similar and maybe even better or worse films.
Wait To rent, though with other films