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May 17th 2012 03:59
: Yawn worthy
Introverted Sally Hurst has just moved in with her father Alex and his girlfriend Kim when she realizes that their sprawling estate holds its fair share of secrets. Ascending to the depths of the house, Sally gains access to a secret lower level that has lain undisturbed for nearly a century, when the original builder vanished without a trace. When Sally accidentally opens the gateway that kept the creatures locked up tight, she realizes that in order to prevent them from destroying her family is to convince her skeptical father than monsters really exist.

Katie Holmes, Guillermo del Toro, Guy Pearce

I was so excited when I heard about this film and then saw that chilling teaser trailer - it was Guillermo del Toro (Labyrinth) producing a horror film directed by first time director, Troy Nixey. It was set in a very old and scary house, starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes and filmed in Australia - it was a win win. It released 15months ago in the US and trailers screened in Australia for an eternity. AND then I find it at the video store and see it went straight to DVD.

Katie Holmes, Guillermo del Toro, Guy Pearce

I thought I would check it out and am very disappointed to now realise why it did go straight to DVD. It is pretty lame.

One thing it does do well is set an atmosphere that is at times chilling, quite dark with some gothic undertones and creepy music and creatures. The house that is used is so amazing that I could easily believe it would be haunted. The gardens are superb and I want to live there and have nightmares

Katie Holmes, Guillermo del Toro, Guy Pearce

But this is about where it ends. The acting is all pretty mediocre. OK - it is acceptable - Katie Holmes is probably the weakest link but most likable character and Guy Pearce plays a character you just loathe - he is such a selfish prick and ignorant of his daughter's feelings and then there is the daughter - an addition from the original film which was childless. Bailee Madison plays Sally and this little thing steals the show from everyone - she is mesmerising on the screen and so cute and lovely.

Katie Holmes, Guillermo del Toro, Guy Pearce

After this the film is quite lame with the standard formula for a horror film. But the thing that drove me mental is the overlooking of continuity or complete lack of making sense. Through most of the film Sally is trying to make her father and "step mum figure" believe her that she is not insane and is actually seeing little monsters. Yet - when one does appear and Kim kills it by squashing it between a bookshelf the creature isn't even referenced????? WHY????? Then the groundsman/ building foreman is attacked by little demons and cut to shreds - he eventually climbs the stairs from the basement for help with blood everywhere and scissors even sticking out of his neck but for some reason everyone, including supposedly the audience, is left to either ignore this fact or assume it was an accident - the man did not fall into a giant washing machine on high spin with a tool kit people?????? AND THE AUDIENCE IS NOT STUPID! It also does not help that the Polaroid camera used to scare off the monsters has a flash strip on top of it with 10 single use bulbs in it. Sally shoots off 2-3 dozen flashes on a device that is only capable of 10. This one was a small annoyance but how dumb are we supposed to be?

Katie Holmes, Guillermo del Toro, Guy Pearce

Look - you could do much worse on horror films and this one has some great production values, the acting is passable and cinematography is impressive, as is the CGI. It has superb atmosphere and I would watch it again on TV during a rainy day in the future if it was on but there are too many negatives with this one. Out now on DVD and Blu Ray and I am giving it a 6 out of 10.

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2 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by David O'Connell

May 17th 2012 07:20
Jase, this film actually did get a release in Australia back in November. I reviewed it here at the time - but as you can guess it disappeared without a trace.
Pretty much agree with what you said, some really silly breaks in logic for starters. Pierce and Holmes were OK I thought but without much enthusiasm for the project it felt like.

Comment by Jason King

May 17th 2012 10:40
No way - really?? I work in the cinema industry hahahaha and I never even saw it come out. It was hard to like Pierce when his character was such a tool - their chemistry was like opposing magnets haha

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