Anna Ivers returns home to her sister Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother. Her dismay quickly turns to horror when she is visited by ghastly visions of her dead mother.
Every town has its own ghost story, and a local folktale around Ravens Fair is about a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw. After she went mad in the 1940s, she was accused of kidnapping a young boy who yelled out in one of her performances that she was a fraud. Because of this she was hunted down by townspeople who in the ultimate act of revenge, cut out her tongue and then killed her. They buried her along with her "children," a handmade collection of vaudeville dolls, and assumed they had silenced her forever. However, Ravens Fair has been plagued by mysterious deaths around them after Mary Shaws collection has returned from their graves and have come to seek revenge on people that killed her and their families. Far from the pall of their cursed hometown, newlyweds Jamie and Lisa Ashen thought they had established a fresh start, until Jamie's wife is grotesquely killed in their apartment. Jamie returns to Ravens Fair for the funeral, intent on unraveling the mystery of Lisa's death. Once... Written by
Leigh Whannell was so unhappy with the finished product, due to studio interference, that he decided to write all future scripts on spec, as opposed to pitching an idea to a studio and then being paid to write the screenplay, as was the case with this film. See more »
When Detective Lipton confronts Jamie in the hotel room after Jamie tries to bury the doll, there are several occasions when Lipton's mouth does not match the words being spoken between cuts or isn't moving at all. See more »
[reciting the nursery rhyme]
Beware the stare of Mary Shaw / She had no children, only dolls / And if you see her in your dreams / Be sure to never ever scream.
See more »
The closing credits starts with a dedication to producer Gregg Hoffman. See more »
If you have nightmares easily, I suggest staying away from this film: it's pure nightmare fuel. If you have an active imagination, you could have trouble sleeping with the film's imagery burned into the back of your eyeballs.
The story's intriguing enough. There just aren't enough horror films these days about menacing old ventriloquist ladies that are buried with their creepy dolls, who have come back from the dead to seek vengeance on the families that put her in the grave, by tearing out their tongues. The atmosphere is heavy, the creepy music is provided by SAW'S Charlie Clouser, the colors are washed out, and the sets are surreal.
Many will dismiss it as a formulaic, clichéd horror film. The SAW creators, who are huge horror fans, have fun making their own version of the American horror film by throwing in plenty of classic tropes such as the wise-cracking detective (Donnie Wahlberg) and the crazy old lady that knows more than she should.
I was pleased that the film didn't shy away from gore: it wasn't gratuitous, but it did enhance the horror. Most ghost stories tend to be separate from the gore flicks (I'm a fan of both), but I always enjoy seeing them combined. Another aspect that was interesting was the "silence" mode that signaled the presence of evil.
It's got plenty of horror elements to provide scares: aged film, folk tales, singing children, antique furniture, voice recordings fading out, flickering lights, dead loved ones beckoning from beyond the grave, photographs of dead families, cackling old women, wide-eyed dolls, billowing curtains, plenty of thunder and lightning, open caskets, dank crawlspaces, and a pervading sense of evil throughout.
Critics won't dig it, but I've shown it to two groups of friends and the majority were terrified and claimed it to be one of the scariest movies they'd seen. If you're a fan of atmospheric horror that aims to creep you to the bone, you should be more than pleased.
184 of 232 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?