The middle brother who was the #1 renter of DVD’s in the country was also a master ghost storyteller. My cousins and I would huddle around him at family gatherings as he wove and spun elaborate tales of suspense and surprise. He would slowly build up the stories, shocking us with the sudden appearance of a flame from his lighter or a quick slap of his hands; making us jump in the darkened living room. The most innocent of events would be transformed into a wild frightening story filled with scary apparitions and spirits. What made his ghost stories so good was the way he slowly built up the suspense, taking his audience on an unexpected journey to a different world. These same factors were employed in this darkly hued horror film. There was no slashing of flesh, no spurting of blood needed in making this well done film scary. There were times when the music would give away the upcoming twist, but it was the use of shadows that propelled the tension forward. Uncle Lucas, played by Nikolas Coster-Waldau (Kingdom of Heaven, Headhunters), had been searching five years for his missing nieces, before he was notified they had been found alone in an abandoned house in the wilderness. Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel, played by Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Take Shelter), would help reintroduce the girls into the living world by becoming their guardians. What the couple did not realize was the girls already had a protective guardian. Taking on a different kind of role, Jessica still brought her considerable strong acting skills to her character. Megan Charpentier (Red Riding Hood, Jennifer’s Body) and Isabelle Nelisse (Mirador-TV) were absolutely creepy as the nieces Victoria and Lilly. There was never a time where I jumped out of my seat from fright; however, the tension and suspense kept me captive. It was done in a similar way like my brother used to do with his stories when I was a kid.
2 2/3 stars