John James is a writer; his wife has left him. He moves with his middle-school aged daughter and young son to an isolated house off a dirt road in South Carolina. The property has an Indian burial mound, which fascinates his daughter, Louisa, who's entering puberty. Strange things: noises on the roof and in the woods, the cat missing, Luisa sleepwalking clutching a straw doll no one's seen before. She visits the mound often, staying late, coming home covered with mud. John's younger son, Sam, is frightened. John learns the house has a history and seeks out the previous owner. Louisa's behavior becomes more bizarre. Is there an explanation? An ant farm and a missing babysitter provide clues. Written by
Halfway through filming, cinematographer Checco Varese fell off a moving vehicle and broke his right hand. After working for a week wearing a splint and using painkillers, he flew to Los Angeles to have surgery; Antonio Calvache took over for five days. See more »
James and his contractor prepare a batch of ANFO (ammonium nitrate + fuel oil) to blow up the mound. This is a 'tertiary' explosive, which means you cannot set it off with fire. It would just burn. To set off the detonation, you need to explode a secondary explosive, like a stick of dynamite, which in turn needs to be set off with a primary explosive, like a blasting cap. See more »
As this movie opens, it seems to be literally riddled with clichés. A recent divorced father (Kevin Costner) decides to move with his two children into a creepy old house in the country, where they find what appears to be an old Indian burial ground. That really didn't seem to require much thought, did it. I was disappointed; somehow I was expecting something just a little more imaginative; a bit more out of the ordinary. I do have to give credit to the writers , though. After that extremely cliché opening, they manage to introduce a pretty well crafted story that rises above those clichés and that creates some suspense in the viewer.
Costner was the movie's greatest strength. He brought a well known presence to this movie and he played the part of the increasingly confused and concerned father quite well. Happily (from my point of view) the movie avoided going for yet another cliché - although there was the opportunity, there was no romance introduced for Costner. For the most part, the focus of the story remained pretty much on his strained relationship with his daughter and his increasing concern for her well being. The kids in this movie (Ivana Baquero and Gattlin Griffith) weren't amazing, but they also didn't detract from the story the way some child actors can. They were believable enough.
Director Luiso Berdejo (who has very little experience as a director) did a decent job using the setting to good advantage, and he created a realistic atmosphere of suspense, slowly rising to fear. There were a couple of things I found awkward in the movie. The introduction of the university professor and his TA, for example. They served little purpose except to give an explanation of what might have been happening with the burial mound. Perhaps there could have been a better way of unravelling the mystery than the introduction of a couple of otherwise unimportant and unnecessary characters. Also, although I fully understand the use of the analogy, the ant farm really wasn't required. I would have understood the movie even without it, and somehow it cheapened this a bit; it's the sort of plot device you expect to see in a made for TV movie.
This isn't bad. It's not one of the great horror movies of all time, but it isn't bad. (6/10)
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