Let’s hang with an unhappy family.
We’ve got ourselves an interesting one here.
We follow Melissa (Sierra McCormick) as she is trapped with her family in a bathroom after a terrible storm. Her alcoholic father Robert (Pat Healy) makes everything worse as her mom Diane (Vinessa Shaw) and younger brother Bobby (John James Cronin) try to keep everyone together.
Themes of isolation fit quite well in our new Covid world (and this film was made during the lockdowns—I think). A dysfunctional family being trapped by a tree in a bathroom after a terrible storm is an interesting premise. I am sure to an extent this film is a reality for a lot of people who were stuck with abusive or crappy family members.
However, there is also something unnatural or supernatural occurring as something outside of their door seems to be increasingly threatening to them.
The crux of the film is the family tension. Robert is hard to take, and is an explosive, abusive alcoholic who seems authentic in some moments and a little over-the-top in others. Likewise, the performances of everyone involved are strong, but indirect. With so much of the film focused on interiority of emotions there is little room for error. I think folks who can’t connect with our lead will be left in the cold quickly.
The film is highly divided on critical sites, with folks seeming to love it or hate it. I liked it but did not love it. I think there are some fresh ideas present here and one of the most surprising scares I’ve seen in a while. We also have cool ideas in the storyline itself (which I don’t want to talk about for spoilers), yet the whole thing comes up as less than the sum of its parts.
The tension works well, the directing is strong, and I think the acting works overall. The ingredients of a creative and entertaining movie are here (and I did not think my time was wasted) but I walked away a little cold to it. Part of this is a disastrous ending that simply does not work for the tone and reality of the world the film is in. The finale will leave you with a bad taste and that is hard to recover from.
Until the ending though, I think there were a lot of interesting ideas and fun to be had. Honestly, most of my complaints come in the last few moments. Otherwise, pacing could be tightened a bit.
This is an interesting, flawed, and uneven film that horror fans will enjoy chewing on, but perhaps won’t love.
Give it a go if you’re interested. However, it is a mixed bag.