I blame two things that made people become afraid of the dark; that Scottish poem with the line “…things that go bump in the night” and Francisco Goya’s painting Que Viene el Coco which translates to Here Comes the Bogeyman. It is that damn Bogeyman that started this reign of fear when day turns into night. How many of us slept with a night light on or the bedroom door opened enough to cast a line of light into our rooms? I never had anything underneath my bed but I knew several kids who felt something could be hiding under their beds. If they had to get up in the middle of the night they could not just swing their legs out to the side of the bed to plant their feet on the floor. Instead they would stand up in bed then jump off like an Olympic long jumper, to get as far away from their bed as possible. These days there seems to be an industry devoted to products that help alleviate the anxiety of going to sleep. I know some families that have sleep machines that produce soothing sounds like ocean waves or wind chimes to calm their children at bedtime. It is funny, I never associated the dark with being scary; in fact, I considered nighttime safer than daylight due to some of the events I had to endure during the day. Darkness meant I was less visible which was a good thing for me. Daylight meant I was a more visible target. Who would have thought this horror thriller would now make me scared of the dark. THINKING it would be an easy target friends Rocky, Alex and Money; played by Jane Levy (About Alex, Evil Dead), Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps, Labor Day) and Daniel Zovatto (It Follows, Innocence); decided to rob the house of a blind man, played by Stephen Lang (Avatar, Public Enemies). They could not have been more wrong. Before I tell you about this film I want you to know I had some conflict with the story line. Since I do not want to give anything away let me just use the following scenario as a random example. If an abandoned building is fenced off with signs posted about its demolition and someone trespasses and gets hurt; who is responsible for the injury? So now back to the film; I liked the way the movie started up as it put the pieces of the story together with little explanation. The acting was good for a horror film but I thought Stephen’s performance was the best. Sitting in a theater full of people made the shock scenes more intense in my opinion. Though there were a few scenes that seemed repetitive and somewhat unrealistic, I did like the way the script threw in surprise twists. On the other hand, the reason the story worked for this picture was because it was based in reality. Many of the scenes seemed like they could have happened and we would have read about them in the newspaper. This film was a thrill ride that may cause you to sleep with the lights on.
2 3/4 stars
Offering them a ride home was the polite thing to do. It was raining outside, that gentle steady kind where the romantic side of me could see myself sharing an umbrella as we walked down the street. However this was only a first date so I was my more practical self. Leaving the cafe we ran to the car; I had unlocked it remotely so I could run ahead and open the passenger door. As we drove away I became aware of the sound the rain made as it fell onto the car. It sounded like a slightly quick, steady heartbeat waiting in anticipation. With their directions I finally pulled up to the front of their building. This not being my first blind date, I was well aware this point of time could turn awkward if both parties were not on the same page with shaking hands, hugging, kissing or a simple wave of dismissal with the hand. As I was about to say I had a pleasant time they interrupted me, asking where were we going from here. I was perplexed and told them I did not understand what they were asking me. My confusion quickly changed into shock as I was being asked if we were now a couple because they needed to know right now and wanted to know what we were doing next week. The voice in my head was praying they would vacate the car without incident. If you think that was crazy wait until you see what happens in this horror film. JAY Height, played by Maika Monroe (The Guest, Labor Day), woke up to find herself tied to a chair. The boy she had slept with was talking to her, explaining what she had to do to avoid being killed–she had to quickly have sex with someone else. This film festival winning movie had a smartly written script that was original. The thing I liked most about this picture was it being a horror film based on suspense, not gruesome violence with buckets of blood. The actors such as Keir Gilchrist (It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Dead Silence) as Paul and Daniel Zovatto (Laggies, Beneath) as Greg Hannigan were okay, no one really stood out for me. As I sat and watched this film I realized the suspense was really not very suspenseful. I am not an expert in horror movies but it seemed to me as if this picture was a lightweight for this genre. It was a shame since I did give it points for being or at least appearing to be more like an indie film without having the heavy handedness of the film studio’s marketing team, not such a crazy thought.
2 1/3 stars