This one has been on my to-see list for a while now, so I was pretty excited to finally get into it after so long. One part of me expected the same old typical ghost story, but another part of me was focused on the imagery along with the concept. It seemed to be a film meant to make one scared of the dark again. I can't say it succeeded in that for me, but I also can't deny that I still enjoyed it.
A young woman named Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) is called to her half-brother, Martin's (Gabriel Bateman) school due to him constantly falling asleep in class. His lack of sleep is due to his and Rebecca's shared mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), who stays awake talking to someone invisible; her friend; resident ghoul, Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey). Unlike the way things like this would normally go down, Martin talks to Rebecca about Diana, which causes a flood of horrible memories from Rebecca's childhood to come back. Evidently, she has been in his shoes. All the while, they are aided by Rebecca's boyfriend, Bret (Alexander DiPersia) who, thankfully, instead of brushing the half-siblings off as nuts, supports and helps them through this.
As Rebecca digs deeper into research on Diana, she soon uncovers a dark history, and a tie to her mother that not only explains her behavior, but shines a light on who the spirit haunting them really is. This Diana character comes as a sort of tormentor for this particular family, taking out anyone who may be in the way. She's fairly reminiscent of Samara from 'The Ring' in that she not only looks fairly similar (a little more ghouled up) but also has the ability to physically harm the living. Interestingly enough, there's a scene where Sophie says that Diana isn't a ghost - however, at the same time, she can't explain what she is. She's not a demon, per se, either. Just a strange entity who likes to scratch things.
Although it doesn't come without a few horror cliches, and I wouldn't call it perfect, I did have a lot of fun with it. Running at only an hour and twenty minutes, this manages to be a sort of campfire ghost story brought to life on screen. And that's honestly what I did enjoy about it - its simplicity. The filmmakers are here to tell a quick ghost story, and avoid certain stereotypes through role reversal. The Mom is the one talking to imaginary friends as opposed to the kid. The boyfriend listens to his partner and helps instead of thinking she's just out of her mind. You've got to appreciate details like that, because that simple move makes things new and different to some extent.
Personally, I thought it was fun, and I didn't feel like it was anything that was taking itself seriously. Like I said, this is a campfire story come to life. It's not without a fair share of decent scares, but it's another one that uses its atmosphere to increase the tension, and that's something I always enjoy. Nothing gets cranked to eleven, mind you, but it's a fun ride with a somewhat interesting ending to say the least. If you're on the lookout for a good, quick scare, I could recommend this. It's haunting, twisted, creepy, performances are decent, and it doesn't get too deep with things. It's a funhouse ride with some disturbing imagery and a nasty ghoul who just might make you afraid of the dark one more time.
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