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Content with two children in an upper class French marriage, a woman finds herself faced with visions of rape, violence and the supernatural. Her husband, a successful businessman also starts experiencing hallucinations in which he often ends up physically hurt. Their babysitter hangs herself and the children begin acting strangely, their sadistic behavior arousing suspicion. It becomes apparent that the children's bodies have been possessed/inhabited by two dirty, old people. Written by
In this French movie, loosely inspired by Jack Clayton's "The Innocents" (which was based on Henry James' novel "Turn of the Screw"), we have an interesting story, outstanding acting, and very good classy old school film-making, how can that go wrong? why are all the negative reviews? For the most part, the praise and over-hype this film received set the expectations too high, so the disappointment is understandable.
It is a straight forward horror story set in an old apartment in France, where after the mysterious visit of two strangers, the children of a young couple begin to act strange and their mother begins to wonder what is going on with her family. Her health problems and the demons of her past make worse her situation.
Compared to "The Innocents", "The Others" and "The Shining", the film really appears as a weak dull attempt of a horror movie; but if you ignore the over-hype and watch it with low expectations, the film is a pleasant surprise and a promising step forward in director Laurent Tuel's career.
Actress Karin Viard plays Marianne, the young mother who faces the strange behavior of her beloved children; and she gives a very good performance. Her outstanding performance asher character goes to psychological torture is one of the most notable characteristics of this film. The acting of her children is very good too, and it is surprising considering their young age. The rest of the cast go from average to good, which is a shame because Viard and the kids do very good jobs.
The film moves very slow, as old films used to do; this old school style of film-making probably will not be of the taste of those used to modern day fast paced scary movies, but will surely be appreciated by fans of 60s horror movies. The movie has that claustrophobic feeling and eerie atmosphere, so characteristic of films of those years.
The script has some troubles, as it leaves many plot holes and while probably it was the intention of the writers to leave things unexplained, I was left with the sensation that many things went unexplored and that a lot of the story's potential was lost.
The direction is OK, but never reaches the imagery of Kubrick, Amenabar or Clayton. As I wrote above, watch it with low expectations and you'll be greatly rewarded. 6/10
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