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This is basically a one man play. It is filled with narration of Rosalind talking to her son from beyond the grave. She was involved in an angel cult. Her husband was the victim of an apparent suicide, after which their nine year old son Leon (Aaron Poole) became an atheist. Rosalind did everything in her power to convince him to have faith, but her games only drove Leon away.
After her death, Leon inherits her home, one he has never visited. It contains bad electrical wiring, a locked door, and eerie shadows. Things happen to Leon while he is in the house which he cannot explain.
The film was mildly interesting. The constant narration, a major part of the story, grew weary. Leon, our only actor, has no character build up. He apparently is some sort of artifacts dealer who had a falling out with a girlfriend psychologist. But other than being an atheist, or "sinner of the mind" we know little about him. He takes medication, as did his mother, but we don't know if that is a factor in what he sees, or what she saw.
I kept waiting for the over the top ending to bring this thing home, but don't expect one. Okay rental to watch in the dark during a storm with the tweens.
Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a horror film that manages to stand out as originalAug. 3 2013
John's Horror Corner
- Published on Amazon.com
A solid success for a writer/director with a small budget on his first feature length film. I'm excited to see what this guy does next. Amid the constantly recycled concepts and axioms that both plague and serve as hallmarks for the horror genre, this film manages to stand out as original. The story is nothing wowing and the horror elements are technically not unique. But the approach was! Because of this, I struggle to compare this to any other horror.
After her passing and leaving everything to her only son, antiquities dealer and atheist Leon (Aaron Poole) visits his estranged mother's (Vanessa Redgrave) home which is neatly, but densely decorated with all manner and medium of Christian--and not so Christian--artifacts, making it somewhat unsettling. The house is also littered with stitched and framed religious adages formed into strange warnings.
The recently deceased Rosalind Leigh (Vanessa Redgrave; Nip/Tuck) narrates, explaining her distance from her son, her deep religious beliefs and Leon's resentful distance from the faith. In this modern approach to a classic-style ghost story Rosalind, haunted by her past, learns what it will be like to remain forever alone.
There is plenty of creepy in this house of angel statues and forces which would prey on the non-believers dwelling within. As we question where Leon's soul will fall on the counterbalance weighing Leon's lack of faith against those powers that would claim his ungrateful soul, he his hunted by some manner of beast outside the house.
This film features only one character that we "see." There are many represented by video or voice (as by phone call), but we watch only Leon interact with his surroundings. His therapist girlfriend remotely leads Leon and us viewers to question if Leon is going mad, or if he really is being hunted by an other-worldly evil.
Writer/director Rodrigo Gudiño shows us some proficient camera work. Nothing spectacular, but he serves his film well. The CGI effects are better when they're not the focus of the shot. Briefly animated statues elicit expected uneasy jumps and the beast, when framed in a shadowy corner, is scary and of off-putting form. But when it comes to fully revealing the creature via close-ups or action, it's just some anorexic werewolf-looking thing from a ScyFy movie-of-the-week.
The poor quality CGI and use of a single on screen actor help inform us of the small budget Gudiño had at his disposal for his first feature length film. Being the lone actor, Aaron Poole faced an unusual challenge having no one with whom he could directly interact. So don't be too quick to criticize his performance or Gudiño's story staging. I'd love to see what Gudiño could do with even a small studio budget for a theatrical release. He has good ideas and a proficiency that exceeds most horror filmmakers of such limited experience.
See this, be mindful of Gudiño's financial limitations and get stoked for the day this guy gets a budget and some more actors to direct.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
When it's scary, it's VERY.Oct. 1 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Short version: So, it's true. This one's definitely *not* destined to be one of the great horror films of all time or the next X weeks of "limited release". But consider watching it anyway, because it's really terrifying in five or six spots. Takes a while to build, but that made it more believable to me when The Bad Things Happened.
A couple more reasons why I actually recommend this one. If,like me, you can't get enough horror and thriller films, but you've developed zombie and vampire fatigue, you may find this one about the house of Rosalind somebody is worth renting to get that handful of very well done terror moments.
It's no spoiler to mention there's also a classic horror ending, the kind that seems understated on one level, then disturbing a few minutes later. After you've turned out the lights.
Beyond the scary bits, two things: great acting from the hipster guy we see the most of, and though I'm no expert, some of the best sound effects and overall sound I've heard from any film. Cheesy sound usually betrays low budget films, whatever genre. Not this one, it had major Hollywood budget quality sound on what I'm guessing's possibly a modestly budgeted Canadian board of culture film. And another good point: no shaky cam! Now that I think of it, better than average camera stuff all around --no camera man shadows where there shouldn't be. Many mega budget horror movies don't bother fixing wrong shadows these days.
What else it seems to me this weird little movie does a worthy job on...First, a familiar dilemma of the full-on macabre that in this film, turns personal: Ever been locked up at night in the house of someone you know who recently died? Most horror films in the Scary House sub-genre open with a night of terror in a house whose previous occupant had absolutely no connection with the unlucky over-nighters. So that contrast to the usual formula is a plus. Second, the question every horror film asks: Just how much assault can your belief system take in one night, that one night of your life when all bets are off?
Most of us, at some point, are going to be stuck, like this guy, spending the night in the house that belonged to some one we know or loved who's recently passed on.
Yeah, even those of us who're veterans of Burning Man and believe, short of war, we've pretty much tried it, so, yawn, what's left that could terrify sophistos like us? That's who this film's protagonist is, the worldly kind of lo-fi attractive, not handsome, not rich, not poor, unattached, self-absorbed hipster...and of course, those are all the reasons why this guy who looks just like the guy you believe you are as cool as, the one you see at the really good coffee bar you only go to on Sunday afternoons is believable. He's the guy who keeps making all the wrong decisions.
Anyway, this film presents an intriguing proposition for those who've made that real-life weird journey, forced to keep watch --alone-- in the house of the dearly departed, and for those who haven't...yet. You could say this film's a kind of negative road map, an example of how *not* to attempt to get through a night that starts out quirky and turns into something too terrible to ever tell anyone else about.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Simple and Elegant. A ghost story done right...Aug. 16 2013
Dustin J. Isenberg
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been waiting in anticipation for this movie to become available for home viewing. I've heard many positive things about it as well as the production and I was eagerly ready to soak up a fresh take on the ghost story. This movie definitely sufficed! I will say that it is not a movie for everyone but even the veteran horror fans should be pleased and find much to love about it. It is a slow burn, for sure. For a ghost story, that works to its advantage. You're not quite sure what is going on within the first 15 minutes but it soon becomes clear that the director had far more on his mind than what he's leading on. The Gothic details throughout the house are simply incredible and very eerie with lots of creepy imagery. There is a narration by the wonderful Vanessa Redgrave who plays the deceased Rosalind Leigh throughout the length of the film. Normally this would seem an annoying detraction but it suits this film quite well and adds to the unease you will feel while wandering through the house with the protagonist. There are definitely things that go bump-in-the-nite here and will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing straight up. The tension mounting in this film is really remarkable! Does the ending hold up as well as the rest of the film? For me, not quite. It's not as cohesive as the rest of the movie but it didn't really bother me. It's still a fitting ending and definitely unlike any other ghost story you'll encounter! I highly recommend searching this one out! I feel like the horror genre is more of a letdown anymore but this film helped put my mind at ease that there is still hope! I was really in the mood for a good scary movie and this one delivered in spades! Simple and elegant with beautiful cinematography and wonderful talent to all involved!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent "atmospheric" scary movieAug. 29 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
As a preface, I have to say that I prefer a horror film that doesn't have a lot of gore or that relies on a lot of pop-ups. In fact, I tend to like things like The Innkeepers where you're not even sure anything supernatural is going on. So, if you want violence or a bunch of jumps, this is not the movie for you.
If you like a movie with a creepy atmosphere and an interesting story, then you will like this one. The premise is basically this antique-dealing son who lost his father to suicide at a young age, returns to his hyper-religious probably cult-following mother's house after her death. He has never been to the house in question (all his memories show a different house)and does not share her religious fervor. In fact, it becomes apparent that they had a really terrible relationship. Anyway, as he starts to pack things up, he starts bringing up his old feelings and begins to see or hear or feel things that may not be there. It's implied that he's been seeing a psychiatrist at some point, and you see he's brought medication with him.
Ultimately, this movie didn't end the way I expected. If anything, I feel it had a very real element of horror, not relying on an exorcism or a zombie or whatever to scare you. The overall theme deals with the effects of loneliness and isolation. At the end, you kind of think about your life and your relationships, instead of hiding under the covers.
It's definitely not for everyone. I think if you like foreign films, which I find tend to move slower, you'll like this one. Or if you just want something different.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Truly haunting ghost storyAug. 17 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
I was so struck by this movie, I watched it two nights in a row - and I can't get it put of my head. Loneliness is at the heart of many great horror movies - and this is one of the best treatments since PSYCHO. It's a deceptively quiet movie, with a very slow build - but it generates a sense of dread that's genuinely unnerving. Beautifully written script, strong acting and a devastating ending.