I am always on the hunt for a good thriller/mystery that I can watch with my whole family and I discovered this one over the weekend.
My headline says "a surprisingly good mystery" because I have to admit that any thriller centered around teenagers or young adults (20 something) is often, in my view, very lame due to overacting by half-dressed stereotypical teenagers, a cliched-ridden script, a "been there, done that" formula plot, and blood and sex thrown in just for the sake of having them there as if that compensates for all negatives. This film is nothing that you would expect, thankfully.
It is important to note that there is nothing original here other than it combines different genres cleverly and gives you the opposite what you think you might get. This, of course, is all good even though it does copy ideas and moments from better films. Based upon the box description and general early feel of the film, I thought this film would be something like a toned down The Grudge combined with witchcraft elements of The Covenant. It is not like what I thought it would be and as the film progressed I kept thinking "Okay, then it's going to be like . . .", but I kept getting it wrong, which I liked. It was VERY unpredictable unlike most Hollywood teen thrillers/mysteries.
There is a cast of very familiar faces from both television and films and the acting by all is actually quite good. No, no Oscars will be handed out here, but the cast does all they are asked to do very well. As I said before the writers have come up with a very clever mystery that slowly unfolds, but the director (who directed The Blair Witch Project) keeps things interesting and moving in the right direction in spite of the deliberately slow pace. The writers also avoided the typical drivel that they have teenagers utter and that was very refreshing as the plot takes it twists and turns.
The plot twists keep our attention and that is why I simply can't discuss much about this film in which a small group of close friends go to one's family vacation home in the Louisiana Bayou to celebrate the start of summer. The problem arises, however, over having a celebration at all when these friends all witnessed the twin sister of one in this group commit suicide six month ago. Naturally, we are given more details of this event over time and assume the ghostly presence in this Louisiana home is her with a message to her friends and this is where all the plot twists come into play.
This film has some very surprisingly touching moments. The underlying story of a twin moving on after her twin committed suicide is handled very sensitively with very believable dialogue and actions by her and her friends. I was sincerely moved by this storyline. This really took me off guard as this is so not typical in a teen angst kind of film.
Well, that's about it on this small but very good film. Again, if you like the usual blood and guts and sex kind of teenager thriller, then this one is not for you, but you would be missing a quality film by dismissing this one because it is not your typical thriller; I almost did.