Well, here we are with another one from 2014. I don’t have much preamble for this one, other than the review will probably have spoilers and the movie was lousy. So, here’s the plot, as over explained by IMDB:
Michael King (Shane Johnson), who doesn’t believe in God or the Devil. Following the sudden death of his wife, Michael decides to make his next film about the search for the existence of the supernatural, making himself the center of the experiment – allowing demonologists, necromancers, and various practitioners of the occult to try the deepest and darkest spells and rituals they can find on him – in the hopes that when they fail, he’ll once and for all have proof that religion, spiritualism, and the paranormal are nothing more than myth. But something does happen. An evil and horrifying force has taken over Michael King. And it will not let him go.
Well, isn’t that just the most long-winded way to explain a pretty… not complicated flick. ANYWAYS! Let’s get this over with.
All I had really heard regarding this movie was that it had been released. The poster was pretty good, though I had initially thought that it might be a new Asylum release. However, the movie kept coming up, and so I figured it was my turn to check it out. The movie sets up as a found-footage or documentary film, and that’s something I’m usually a fan of… right up until it breaks the format. You’ve heard me say this time and time again, I can’t stand when a found-footage movie switches back and forth. This movie does it, but doesn’t seem to… notice that it does. The way its shot doesn’t really make a ton of sense for that style, and it was pretty jarring at times. The low angle, always running camera out in front of Michael’s house for example, is basically sitting on the sidewalk, and was never stolen. I don’t know, some of the cameras just don’t make sense, and the style really seems to come and go, which was my first problem with the movie.
Another sort of nit-picky thing was the old home-movies of Michael and his family, which are presented with sort of… rounded frames to give the appearance that they are old and shot on actual film, but … they aren’t. So that didn’t really work for me, but again, I realize that’s nit-picky.
So, in terms of the performances in the movie, there really isn’t much to get excited about. Though, the crazy necromancer who works in the funeral home was kind of fun to watch, I guess. I can’t really say that anyone’s performances were BAD, but the characters just felt pretty flat and uninteresting. Michael, after losing his wife, starts messing around with black magic, taking drugs from strangers, and doing all of these things while his very young daughter is at home, and really only considering himself and his project when it comes to taking his camera man into pretty unsafe and sketchy situations. So really, we just watch a sad guy make bad choices in his life, and then become possessed by an ant demon. The character isn’t terrible likable or interesting, and there aren’t really any other characters to balance him out, so the movie feels pretty flat in that regard.
The story isn’t terrible interesting either, it felt a little bit too much like Paranormal Activity, with almost none of the genuine atmosphere or scares that PA had. Which, actually brings me to the other problem I had. This movie relies pretty heavily on jump scares, weird or ‘disturbing’ images, and LOUD NOISES to get the reactions it wants out of the audience. Any of the moments that really got my heart racing were from a loud noise, or a sudden burst of static and a scary face, the movie equivalent of those ‘scare-photos’ that go around the internet from time to time… you remember those. As a result, the movie might seem scary, but over all it really just isn’t. It’s not treading new ground, with the one exception that this time around a man is possessed instead of a woman (and I’m really reaching for new ground with that one), and as a result it just doesn’t deliver. It even temporarily convinced me that it might take some risks, by making me think that Michael had murdered his young daughter, but of course it was a tease, and the movie returned to being exactly like every other movie like it.
I will give the movie one piece of credit, there is a scene where Michael (possessed by a demon) goes into his sisters room and gropes her while she sleeps, it’s gross and actually pretty unsettling, but that’s about it.
Overall, this movie just isn’t really worth the time. I know that we’re always looking for NEW horror movies to watch, but I’m sure there about 10,000 other great horror movies you haven’t seen yet, so this one just isn’t worth bothering with. At least, that’s what I got out of it. Mediocre all around, and way to reliant on jump scares rather than building a strong story and interesting characters.
FINAL GRADE : C-