“A girl, Tess, is diagnosed with an identity disorder that may actually be channeling an evil, dead spirit inside of her.”
Ah, my old nemesis: the middling horror movie. I always find it harder to talk about movies like this, because there’s so little I feel like saying in some cases. Anyways, let’s get on with it and talk about Anguish. Based on the trailer and plot description of this one, it seems to be setting up a standard possession/exorcism movie, wherein a young girl is possessed and a servant of God must do battle with the demon to free her soul. We’ve seen the same movie over and over again, down to the “based on true events” tag, so it’s easy to think that that is exactly what you would be getting from this movie.
This was the first directorial outing from writer Sonny Mallhi (The Roommate), and he does a pretty good job getting solid performances out of the actors, but that is about as far as my enjoyment of this movie goes. What’s kind of interesting about this one is that the main cast is made up of women, and they are given the resourcefulness to handle the entire situation by themselves. There is the appearance of fathers, and priests, but, in the end, the women in the film are given full and complete control over their circumstances. This really is something uncommon in this kind of movie, so credit to everyone involved here. Stars Ryan Simpkins, Annika Marks, Karina Logue, and Amberley Gridley are all solid in the movie, and deliver believable performances all around.
What kicks the legs out from under this movie is the script. It seems to want to be both a film about possession, and one about the grief that comes with losing a child, and, as a result, the movie isn’t great at being either. Perhaps it tried to stay true to the “true events”, and that contributed to the simplistic nature of the story, and the convenient way everything was wrapped up. By the end of the movie, it all seems so convenient and hints at a story continuing after the credits, but rather than pack a punch like many movies do when they end like this, it feels a bit like a shrug that doesn’t amount to anything.
All in all, this one just didn’t deliver a whole lot. It’s not especially scary or originally, especially if you don’t buy into it having actually happened. The performances aren’t quite enough to make it a recommendable movie, particularly for those who are looking for something frightening. It’s not a particularly bad movie, but it doesn’t add much to an already over-saturated genre. It almost feels disingenuous in its presentation, falling back more on a story of a woman who wanted a chance to say goodbye to her daughter more than dealing with a possessed teen. There is also some attempt to relate the story to mental illness in teenager which doesn’t amount to anything besides explaining why the main character takes medication.
All around it’s just not that remarkable, and not one that I would check out again.
MY RATING: **