Strange and unexplained things begin to occur within the residence of the Harper family. We understand within the opening of this film that Jackie (Helen Hunt), the mother of the household, has previously wronged her husband and works as a professional counsellor. Greg (Jon Tenney) is the husband of the household and a police detective who is currently investigating the recent disappearance of a young boy. Jackie and Greg also live with their only son, Conner (Judah Lewis), who is a similar age to the young boy who has recently disappeared.
But while things are already tense within the home, several unexplained elements begin to occur for this family. Things which are not normal. These things could be paranormal activity or perhaps something else entirely. The film is sneaky and clever and doesn’t give away any major details. We do get to see firsthand the kind of bizarre and strange things that are happening within this house, though- photos vanishing from photo frames mounted on the wall, hearing the TV and turntable turn on automatically etc. As you would expect, these moments are quite suspenseful, and these odd issues are not helping the already existing problems the household are currently dealing with.
In essence, this film feels like there are two stories in one. We have the issues and the questionable things occurring in the Harper’s house, but there is also a police investigation going on.
The visual style of this film is dark, gritty and it is very pleasing. There is nothing beautiful looking about this film when it comes to visuals, instead creating an overall creepy and dark tone. I really felt this was a positive experience, particularly in the first act. As a plot, this film had my attention once the bizarre things began to happen. I had such determination to finish the film off because I had to know the truth behind everything in this slow-burning thriller. It is nice to have this type of desire when watching a film and not many films can deliver such hooks and investment. The film’s audio track was also a nice touch, particularly when it comes to the creepy sound effects which build suspense.
As far as performances go, I must confess I found it welcoming to see the return of the actress Helen Hunt to the big screen. Not only has Helen Hunt returned to the screen, but she has tackled a new style of horror film. This is something very different given the actress’s resumé. For the most part, she and the other actors around her gave solid performances with nothing negative or anything to complain about.
Overall, I had a great time watching this film. The first act sets up such a solid mystery that I had to see the film through to the end, and I had such determination to find out the truth along with our leads. While the reveal is pleasing, I couldn’t help but feel it somewhat cheated the audience ever so slightly. Performances are quite solid, and I found it welcoming to see actress Helen Hunt returning to the big screen once again. Those seeking a film loaded with crime, drama and added horror should really check this film out as quickly as possible.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden