I really like Toni Collette as an actress, so I was pretty excited to see this one.
A family has recently suffered a loss, Annie’s mother has recently passed and the movie opens with her funeral. There’s a mom, dad, and two kids in the family, an older brother and a younger sister. The younger sister is odd, very odd. She draws creepy pictures, she cuts the heads off of birds and she doesn’t speak or emote that much. It’s clear her family loves her, it’s not from abuse of any kind, she’s just off. The young actress does a very good job in this role, I tend to gravitate away from movies with really young actors but she did a really good job at being creepy as fuck.
The family is struggling to move on, Annie has a lot of pent up anger and frustration with her mother, she was difficult to get along with, difficult to read, and not particularly warm or motherly. She goes to a therapy group for those grieving a loss and just unleashes years of repressed guilt, anger, and anxiety over the state of her family. She understands her mother had a shit life, her son committed suicide at 16, her husband died, and she was left alone to raise her daughter. She feels like her own family is in crisis since although none of them hate each other, the relationships are strained and distant at times.
Some weeks pass and the son wants to go to a school party, he tells his mom it’s just a BBQ, and of course she’s no idiot and calls him out on it. He insists that there’s nothing to worry about, and that kids she knows will be there and it will be fine. She’s convinced enough that she asks him to take along his little sister. Neither the sister or the brother want her to come, but Annie thinks it’ll be good for the girl to get out of the house and interact with other kids.
Shit goes down, and it’s at this point to talk about the plot would get super spoilery. Things take a lot of weird and unexpected turns, and this movie isn’t at all what I thought it would be. Annie keeps making decisions she thinks are for her families best interest, and they just keep backfiring in terrible ways. There are ghosts, possessions, and cult leaders as well as a ton of fucked up violence and uncomfortable scenes. There’s a lot of silence and jump scares in there too, just to fuck with people like myself who still startle when they know it’s coming.
The acting was really well done in this, everything was very believable. The father is stressed out and depressed, and the mother feels like she’s losing her mind. The number of tears Toni had to cry in this movie was unreal, and the screams she had to do hurt my throat just to listen to it.
This is not a movie with a happy ending, or a neutral ending, be prepared to be depressed and grossed out.
Final Score: 81/100
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
:: clicks tongue ::
:: shudder ::
Man oh man did I dig this movie. I was surprised at how much of a straight-up classic horror movie it ended up being. The sound design was fantastic. And so many long, lonnnnnnnng takes, just a frozen camera hanging on everyone’s face for far too long. I don’t know how some of these actors can do take after take after take of some of these scenes, just pouring out their souls into these moments. It had to been physically and mentally exhausting. Toni should get the Oscar!
I didn’t know what to expect from this movie, but it managed to surprise me all the same lol. And yes, some of these scenes I can’t imagine doing it take after take, just so much horror and raw emotion that was required to pull them off.