My cinematic history is full of films I knew nothing about but enjoyed immensely; Bogowie, Table 19, The Last Word. This was not one of those. It was a mess, and not even a hot mess. It has potential but never realises it and is too flawed to be recommended.
For starters; it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it is. It’s shot like a horror movie, written like a drama, and paced like a thriller. It’s both all of these things and yet none of them. There’s nothing scary in it to warrant it being deemed a horror movie, the characters aren’t defined well enough to call it a drama, and the stakes aren’t enough to call it a thriller.
It also has too many twists, by which I mean it has more than one. It turns out that the “ghost” (that is referenced to about 3 times in the film) is actually their dad, who they locked in the attic after he tried to kill them, surviving for years on rats etc. THAT should be the main twist, it kicks off the third act. The other twist? All the other family members (apart from the main character) are now dead and he’s been imagining them to deal with guilt. That was too much. It overegged the pudding and didn’t really add anything. It also came after/was attached to, a terrible scene. It was with a scene that was the main character being chased by his dad, written as a scene full of tension of whether he’s about to survive. One issue: it’s a flashback. You can’t add “OMG is he going to survive?” scene in a flashback, unless it’s REALLY good, and this wasn’t. It felt like it was supposed to be at the start, it would have made sense then. That kind of sums up this film; bad choices were made somewhere that ended up harming the final product. It’s a shame as everybody involved in this is better than this. The writer/director also wrote The Impossible, which was incredibly brutal and interesting to watch.
I feel that somewhere, if this went through a few more rewrites it could have been interesting. It just needed a bit more care and it would have worked.