Let’s summon a demon.
Before you watch this film, ask yourself if you like jump scares—if you do then this might be your jam.
We have another Blumhouse production, which means it looks pretty good while following an absurdly formulaic pattern. Don’t get me wrong, Blumhouse can usually provide a decent evening’s entertainment, but this would certainly be a B-side from them. Given an unceremonious release in Netflix, I think this one flew under a lot of people’s radars.
Marina (Danielle Pineda) is sent to a psychiatric ward after stabbing a friend under orders from a spirit. Now, (some time later) she is released, convinced she has schizophrenia, and is living with her sister Alice (Ella LaMont) and nephew Bryce (Miles Emmons). The whole sane person is convinced they are crazy but is really sane thing is a little old. In fact, Oculus (also done by Blumhouse) is pretty damn similar in the set-up. Now crazy person has to prove they’re not crazy [by doing certain things] and save their [insert family member here].
Derivative horror films (or films in general) can be entertaining, but it needs to do everything right. If nothing new is on the table every single beat of the film needs to be in order (think of Conjuring). Here, we have stilted characters existing in a nice-looking world. Alice’s boyfriend Will (Austin Amelio—also known as Dwight from The Walking Dead) serves as an exposition beacon when we first meet him, and the odd, completely unrealistic conversation that takes place sets a bad tone for the film. This role of him being an arbiter of information doesn’t end, and he never becomes likable. I like Amelio and think he is one of the more interesting actors on TWD, but he doesn’t help this film.
The familiar story setting, mixed with the idea of a viral monster (a la Slenderman), and too many jump scares just messes the film up. Too many scenes serve no other purpose than giving us another loud noise and something to be startled by.
There isn’t anything interesting to grab onto here. Competent acting and directing can’t cover an uninspired script. Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t a disaster of a film (like a lot of mainstream horror), but it isn’t good, either. The film doesn’t provide enough entertainment or newness to be something worth checking out.