Ashley: Don’t worry, daddy. I’ll make you famous again.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson
Synopsis: A true crime writer trying to reclaim his prior success moves into a home where grisly murders happened.
A taught thriller with an interesting lead and a new spin on the “bogey man” concept. Similar to previous Blumhouse productions (Paranormal Activity and Insidious) it doesn’t necessarily innovate the horror genre and often uses clichés from past horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween just as Insidious used Poltergeist as its main inspiration. However I found this to be an engaging entry into the horror films of recent times. It does have decent scares and develops its characters in realistic ways.
Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is an over the hill true crime writer who is trying to recapture the success he had early on by investigating the mysterious disappearance of a young girl in a small town. He moves into the house that the family lived in and begins to hear bumps in the night. He also discovers old 8mm home movies which slowly reveal the many different murders that happened in the house by a mysterious “bogey man” with a very creepy mask. With Paranormal Activity and Insidious under their belts I can see Blumhouse as the New Line Cinema for our decade. Just as New Line produced low budget successful horror franchises in the 1980s with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th films with recognizable villains that give the teenagers something to watch on date night.
This new bogey man isn’t quite established as Freddy was in the original Nightmare on Elm Street, however he provides enough mystery to be developed and fleshed out in later sequels. The film is engaging and the scares mostly earned. Performances are strong all around and Scott Derrickson shows a strong eye for horror conventions.
Rating: 3 Stars