Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Photo: The house, tree, and noose from the movie, from the movie's Wikipedia page. The real house in the village of Harrisville, in Burrillville, Rhode Island, looks nothing like this.
Very good, very creepy horror film, supposedly based on a real house in Burrillville (village: Harrisville), Rhode Island, just a minute or two from the MA border. My visit to this house will be another blog entry for another day. (I won't tell you--my RI readers) where this house is, because--as I found out myself--the real people living in the real house want their privacy, and they should get it. I can tell you that there isn't much to see from the road, there's very little breakdown lane room to park for a quick look, and you'll get arrested if you go on the property, so don't even think about it. It's easy to find the address online, but if you do, and if you go there, at least I can say that I didn't give you the address and lead you there. Burrillville itself is a pleasant little town, and there's a cemetery nearby with a crypt that has a very creepy door--wide open. I'll show pictures of that in the next blog entry about my trip up there.
Anyway, the film isn't overdone, and there's a lot of very creepy images and situations. A few of these made me jump, which is no easy task, as I've seen and read most of the good (and bad) horror stuff out there. I'm not often affected in movies in any way, so this was a winner. The best thing I can say about it is that there's not a moment after the movie ended that you say, "Now that I think about it, that was kinda dumb." The Ring struck me like this. It was a very creepily effective movie, but when I thought about it, I realized--In a VHS tape? How did a drowned girl's spirit somehow make it's way through a VHS tape? What if the tv is one of those miniature ones that people use in their kitchens? Or, now, on an I-Phone? The sequel could be set up with the tape in a discount bin, with all of the other VHS tapes that nobody plays anymore. See what I mean? The suspension-of-disbelief holds you while you're watching, but the second it loses its grasp of you--you think, "Huh?"
This movie wasn't like that, although in this case, you are asked to buy the fact that the original bad person was a witch. It's mentioned just once or twice, and the rapidity of the movie makes you accept it because you don't have time not to. I caught this snare while watching it, and I didn't buy it, but I do buy that there are just some very bad and angry people out there, and I do believe that--if ghosts exist at all--than those very bad and angry people will become very bad and angry ghosts. That's a lot of ifs, but it all makes sense to me. (In a philosophical, If and Only If [IFF] kind of way, but whatever.) The point is that it's all kind of plausible, if you think that way to begin with. I walked in believing in a very solid Maybe that ghosts exist, and I wasn't swayed either way by watching this. I'm going to guess that whatever it is you believe about the whole ghost / possession thing, you'll feel the exact same way afterwards.
There was a scene where a priest tells a guy he can perform an exorcism on his authority, once it's established that the okay from the Vatican would take too long to save the possessed person. This of course a Catholic priest cannot do. That has to come from the Vatican. (This was a minor beef of mine with Season Two of American Horror Story, a blog entry to come.) But, whatever. At least the guy, or the priest, doesn't just perform the exorcism without even mentioning the Vatican or the process. You expect these types of things in horror movies, and probably in movies in general. You either go with it, or you don't. I suspect that you will here.
There's a creepy tree, a creepy attic, a creepy basement, a creepy crawlspace, a creepy armoire / wardrobe piece of furniture, a creepy-looking thing in the daughters' room, and a very, very creepy doll, which thankfully is more of a symbol of evil than an actual participant or used object. That's already been done well (Poltergeist) and badly (Chucky) and I just wasn't in the mood for it. In real life, there was a very creepy-looking barn, where someone apparently hanged herself (or, as the movie frequently and annoyingly said, "hung herself," but, whatever, I'm over it). This barn was not used in the movie. I probably won't show it in the blog about my visit, as it isn't my property, and, like I said, there's apparently an old couple living there now, and they deserve their privacy--which they won't get, of course, but I don't have to play a part in that.
Incidentally, this information about the current owners came from a few people who had driven for almost three hours--from Schenectady, New York--only to have to leave fewer than five minutes after they stopped. I hope it was worth it for them.
So, if you want to be creeped-out and chilled, if not a little jumpy afterwards, this movie is the one for you. Critics have heavily praised it, and Rotten Tomatoes has given it a very high rating percentage.
I would, too.
If you've seen the movie, please tell me what you thought of it.