I watch a lot of horror movies; few are able to make me actually afraid of anything. It is rare to find a movie that can keep you literally on the edge of your seat, at least for the duration of the movie. In at least once case, this movie achieves that. While watching this movie, like Paranormal Activity, I found myself unable to look at the screen, but was doubly scared as the screen went to black and all you could hear was the breathing of the heroine and the click of the polaroid camera she used for light.
The movie starts out slowly, as most movies do, the main character, Sarah, is helping her father fix their former house up. They are aided by her father’s brother, Peter. A friend from her childhood at the house stops by, asking if they can catch up later. Sarah shows little recognition of the girl, but agrees nonetheless. Peter leaves the house, leaving the other two in the house, alone, and that is when things become strange. Sarah hears a loud noise upstairs and beckons her father to investigate it with her. They both go upstairs, but find nothing. Her father notes that she hasn’t done her due diligence cleaning her old room up, and leaves her there while he goes back to the basement. She hears another loud crash, and when she goes to investigate, she begins to see things that may or may not be there.
What follows in the movie is a break-neck pacing that keeps the viewer planted firmly in his or her chair. I was terrified for Sarah. She was being pursued by unknown assailants and the circumstances could not be more threatening.
After she eludes her unseen attacker (unseen because I had covered my eyes) she finds her father upstairs, bleeding from the head, having been attacked. She realises he’s seriously hurt and must brave the attackers to get him help. She creeps down two flights of stairs and finds a door on the first floor locked. She skirts to the basement and manages to escape being discovered and find a way out. As she runs away from the house, she finds her uncle driving back, and jumps in the car with him, begging him to get help. But as is customary in horror movies, they go back to the house and try to find the attackers.
When the secret of the house is revealed, it wasn’t unpredictable, but that didn’t make it any less horrifying. But the horror here was not of the slasher movie variety, but a psychological variety. I will say this, which may be a slight SPOILER, it was reminiscent of a Donald Sutherland horror movie, I believe it was called An American Haunting. The real horror of the movie was truly in the eyes of the heroine, Sarah, and the camera followed her throughout the movie. The strategies used by the film-makers were similar to the aforementioned Paranormal Activity, but had more of a shaky-cam feel like Blair Witch Project. Like the Donald Sutherland movie, this one was indeed scary, but won’t stick with you or make you feel the terror once it is over. The horror I feel, now knowing what happened, has more to do with what happened to the characters not during the movie, but before the story was told. The movie was quick ride down a distasteful lane of horror, but one that isn’t employed much, but when it is, it has a great effect. I can’t recommend this movie, but if you like horror movies, then this is one you should give a chance.