Director: Sean McConville
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1242618/
I admit I had never heard of this movie before surfing through Starz On Demand and happened to read the synopsis. The movie stars Brittany Murphy, Thora Birch and Marc Blucas. Based on the synopsis I wasn’t sure if the movie was going to be a thriller or a ghost story, and was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be the latter.
The plot is pretty standard actually, nothing spectacular – a writer (Murphy) comes to stay at a creepy old house whose previous owners disappeared. Left alone for a week, she begins to see and hear odd things which leads her to discover a box full of video cassettes. Watching the cassettes, she begins to piece together what happened to the previous owners and how their loving relationship spiraled into a web of jealousy and lies that eventually leads to murder.
The story itself is, as I said, very commonplace, a good old fashioned haunted house. However, the way the movie was filmed adds a great deal to the horror. The director made excellent use of off-center shots, scenes where you expect something to pop out at you at any point. Many times nothing does happen, but you’re so expecting the sudden jump that when the scene shifts, it provides a similar jolt. There are a few sudden pops of horror, but usually it’s much more implied than shown, which helps add to the atmosphere of this creepy old house.
All of this, the good cinematography and the basic but well played story line, would make for a good movie, but this movie manages to add a final layer that really seals the deal. Throughout the movie you are given hints that what you are seeing may not be real, and that the main protagonist may in fact be suffering a mental breakdown. This is seemingly confirmed at the end, and the entire events of the movie may be nothing more than her imagination playing out her most recent screenplay. However, we’re left to wonder, if that were true, how did she have a necklace with the name Lucy, the character in her story and ghost in the main narrative? The ending makes you wonder if this was really a ghost story at all, or was it a peek into an insane mind slowly slipping into oblivion?
I recommend catching this movie if you can, perhaps on cable or at a rental place. It’s spooky, made more so by the tragic death of Murphy who seems to have been a real life version of the character she plays here.