Thursday, December 31, 2009
Director: Sean McConville
Writer: Sean McConville
Starring Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch, Marc Blucas, Tammy Blanchard and Claudia Troll
It is rather ironic that about a week before the tragic passing of Brittany Murphy, that I had rented this film and watched it. It is especially sad, as I thought it as one of her best performances. The film is a ghost story that has the feel of a lot Japanese horror films. It boasts a strong story that is truly suspenseful. The cast of the film is above board too, Brittany is outstanding as is Thora and Marc too. The film is put together flawlessly well. The film has a palatable sense of impending doom throughout and it really carries that feeling till the shocking ending. The desperation of Murphy's character really carries the viewer with her through the entire film.
The plot basics are this, Alice (Murphy) is a writer recovering from a psychological breakdown. She retreats to a Victorian home out in the woods to recuperate and to finish a book she is writing before the impending deadline that is approaching. Things progress well, until she starts hearing strange sounds and going on's in the house. Alice is frightened but goes down to the cold and dingy attic where she finds a shoe box filled with mini DVD's. She begins to watch them obsessively, and at first they are the loving home movies of a married couple (Birch and Blucas). But soon they become a videologue of a husband's growing fears and obsessions. It leads to a horrifying ending and this causes Alice to investigate and what she discovers unhinges what little sanity she has left and the question is will she survive or will she suffer the same fate as the wife.
This is a great little film. The direction by McConville is very tense and suspenseful. The film is shot with a lot of contrasting shadows and lights and this really marks up the effect the film has on the viewer. The best example is how the videos start off very charming but they slowly turn sinister and it is very gripping watching the tone of the film change. The script is very good too. The character of Alice is really the crux of the film and the viewer really empathizes with her ordeal. The cast is exceptional. Murphy really owns the film and is very mesmerizing to watch throughout. Birch as the wife on the videos is very intriguing. She is very charming and you feel for her as her dilemma gets worse and worse. Blucas is great as the obsessed husband who goes off the deep end. The SFX and effects are quite good, especially when you see the spectral vision of Thora Birch. This is a great ghost story and one of the finest performances by the late Brittany Murphy.
This one gets 4 out of 5