I have to say – this is one of the best horror flicks (of this type) put out in years. Not since I was a little kid did I jump this much in a movie – I mean, for real. What’s the definition of scared? Did it scare me? Well – I certainly was startled about a dozen times. I was pretty tense during the final scene. I wasn’t scared like I need to go hide in the closet and cry for hours. I watch a lot of horror movies and this really blows a lot of them out of the water. To be sure – it’s not a movie like The Shining which offers two straight hours of gut wrenching, childhood trauma horror – this is a “camera turn, you know it’s coming, it’s coming, nothing, nothing, it’s coming, it’s coming, come on already, BLAM, they got me” horror. When I saw The Descent for the first time and they are looking through that camera in the cave and turn around and that damn creature is there, that made me jump in “WHAT THE??” fashion. Well this is full of that and 100% better than the first two, reviewed here. When I left I was very fulfilled and I would love to go see it again.
So this is a prequel to the awful second film which was a prequel to the not too bad, one shot pony first and we get to see why this thing is pestering these two sisters to begin with. Set in the late 80s, their mom and her boyfriend are fiddling around with his new video tape camera, preparing to make a sex tape when an earthquake occurs. Looking at the footage, they see that some dust from the roof landed on some sort of invisible form so he sets up a tripod in the girls room, their room and a (very cool idea) camera that rotates on the base of a fan (this provides a lot of good footage). As this unfolds, we see that the younger sister has a make believe friend she calls Toby and we learn that he is not at all benevolent. In fact, he is much more menacing than the first two movies and their use of his invisible form is very effective, especially in a cool hair pulling scene, and a shot at the top of the stairs towards the end. As we go through this thing, we get creepy kids sneaking around the house in the dark, things that go crash in the day and night, violent interactions with angry Toby and reach the end that, of course, isn’t happy.
There are a lot of things that worked for me in this; the girls that seemed generally scared, the use of the invisible Toby that does things instead of just walking up stairs, there is a very cool scene with a bed-sheet ghost and the tense run through the house at the end. Another thing I thought was cool was that the trailers / commercials for this are scenes that are actually not in the movie. In fact, the “Bloody Mary” scene in the movie is a lot cooler and tense than the TV shot. In the commercials, I thought the girl jumping off of the balcony looked like bad CGI – maybe a focus group did too because what we get instead is a lot better.
Anyway, i really liked this and would love to go see it again. Of course, this is just my opinion and obviously everyone’s not going to have the same reaction. I give it four top hats because the lead actor kind of irritated me.
Darin, if you read this, the kill count is 2.