I have to give some major kudos to actor Toni Collette, she knocked this one out of the park. She shows a wide range of emotion and kept this story moving. Another big shout out to Molly Shapiro who played the daughter to Toni Collette. I think she portrayed having mental issues very well. The trailer made it seem like this movie was going to be about her, and in a way it was. But, as I mentioned before, the trailer is misleading.
Overall, this movie excelled in its creep factor. The way the angles were shot, the music, and the use of light (or lack thereof) all came together and made for some shots that actually sent chills through my body. There were some specific scenes too (which I'll get into in the spoiler section) that stuck with me after the credits rolled.
The movie starts out slow, but once it starts moving, it doesn't stop. One thing that I enjoyed, was the unreliable POV of Toni Collette's character. She suffers from some issues where you have to question if what she is seeing is real or not. It made me question everything she saw and that was great. I love movies that leave things up to the interpretation of the viewer.
As for some of the cons of the movie, there are a few things that happen make me question the actions of the main characters...one of those things where they act a certain way and you just roll your eyes. It wasn't anything crazy, but enough to make me raise an eyebrow.
Another issue of the movie is some of it doesn't make sense. I'll get into it a bit in my spoiler section. Overall, these things didn't detract from the experience and if you're into weird, creepy things, then go watch the movie. It's hard to compare it to anything, but the closest thing I can think of is maybe The Witch. They play on the theme of isolation, strange things going on, and overall creepiness. Plus, Utah connection! The movie was filmed in Park City and Salt Lake City. I thought it was looking familiar while I was watching it, then I saw a Utah plate on a vehicle in a scene.
Anyway...on to the spoilers!
All of sudden this movie took a turn and it started getting even weirder. There were some traditional witchcraft overtones early on that I saw that reminded me of the maiden, mother, and crone. The paganism angle gets heavier and heavier until it comes to an end. You come to find out that the grandmother was part of a coven that was trying summon Paimon who is a duke of hell or a king or hell depending on what source read.
I loved how they weaved mental disorders into actual paranormal happenings. At one point Toni Collette explains to a support group that her mother was crazy and that she had mental issues. She mention that her brother killed himself and blamed the mother stating that she put voices in his head. After seeing the show, we can see that she was trying to plant an evil demon into him. It makes me wonder if her issues stemmed from the same source, or if she actually had some issues.
Here are some questions I have about the movie that perhaps someone smarter than me can answer. First, was Charlie really Paimon (a duke of hell that the grandmother was trying to summon and that the coven finally successfully summoned)? I don't quite understand how her spirit was connected to the whole thing.
Second, how do you not know that there is a dead body in your attic? That shit would start to stink something bad I would imagine. They make some cursory comment about it during the movie, but come on...I think it would be worse then that.
Third, the family witnesses some strange seance go down and the next day they just move on like nothing happened. I mean, if I saw things go flying off the table, flames shooting out of candles, and my mom speaking in tongues, I don't know what I would do, but going on about my business like nothing at all was out of the ordinary would not be it.
Anyway, the scene when Toni Collette crawls up the wall and is banging her head against the crawlspace door was creepy as hell. Then when she's cutting her own head off with a wire...oh man, chills. Any time they showed a spirit in the darkness was very well done, especially the scene with the head and the ball (if you've seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about).
Well worth a watch if you're into creepy stories. I highly recommend it.