An American family move into a new home because of their son’s diminishing health, only to discover that it was previously a mortuary and host to supernatural events…
While I had my doubts initially, with the film beginning with the tried and tested “Based off a True Story” pretext and this brainless family thinking a spooky house is perfect for them and their troubled son Matt, the film actually has some unique ideas and a tone that is smartly downplayed compared to standard horror films.
The film starts out surprisingly bleak. Matt’s medical condition is brutal and hangs over the entire family, and this mood controls the first act. The film uses this family trouble to slowly increase the tension nicely, allowing the characters some uncertainty; are these events real or could Matt be imagining them? The film isn’t quite clever enough to make us doubt the possibility of supernatural goings on completely, since that’s what we are expecting, but the build up and escalation of frights is decent.
What I liked most about it was how toned down it was. There are plenty of jump scares dotted throughout, but a lot of the unpleasant moments are eerie and ghostly visions rather than blunt, bludgeoning gore fests.
I don’t know if its a particularly great film; it is your usual haunted house story with a family under attack by ghouls, but it had enough unique story beats for it to be interesting to watch. It was quite short too, making it feel like the plot for an old X-Files episode. I mean that in a good way!
Additional Marshmallows: I don’t know if it was just my blu-ray player and/or the disc, but some early scenes and especially any onscreen credits looked pixelated, it was a little distracting.