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David Michael Latt
Eriq La Salle,
A former child star buys her grandmother's house to rescue it from ruin but her hope for serenity is soon eclipsed by haunting dreams of her famous grandmother, who died of a supposed overdose in the house more than 30 years ago.
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Alice, 32, a writer recovering from a psychological breakdown retreats to a remote Victorian house to convalesce and focus on finishing her screenplay in time for a fast approaching deadline. Shortly after her arrival, mysterious noises and strange happenings cause her imagination to run wild, sending her on a twisting and terrifying pursuit to find out what is behind the endless mind games. Frightened but intrigued, Alice gathers the courage to go down into the cold, dingy attic where she finds a shoe box filled with mini-dv tapes. The terrifying secret that lies within the tapes will unravel Alice's dark past. Written by
I will not bother to recount the story - it is a familiar one, I'll just mention the good points of the movie: 1- Brittany Murphy does an excellent job - she is pretty fearless going in the attic numerous times; not getting creeped out by the old house noises; is convincing as she gets wrapped up in the story of the prior residents (as observed by the husband's extensive videotaping - which Brittany finds); 2- good use of "less is more" approach to filming the build up to the climax - very good creepy music - set an atmosphere of dread - punctuated by the woman screaming (which did not seem to bother Ms. Murphy - it sure would have me); 3.) maddening ambiguity - did the guys wife, Lucy, actually have an affair with Luke? she never denies it - keeps repeating "We're having our baby" - as if that would stop her. The ending has a couple of twists and some possibly disturbing aftermath to the events. One other reviewer thought that the writers thought some of this up at the last minute - I agree.
The bad: too coincidental that Brittany and the woman in the house had similar circumstances - they did not have to do that to make it interesting. Also Brittany was there to write, but in the whole movie I did not see her write a word - so I think the title is just an excuse or afterthought to the plot. They had to get her to the house by herself in some way.
One other good thing - the subtle undertones that Brittany and her roommate were more than just friends. It never came out, but it looked like her roommate had the hots for her at times - but maybe I'm imagining it.
Overall entertaining. One other thing I can say, unlike so many horror movies I have started watching lately - at least I watched this one to the end.
One line I liked "Old house are like old people - grumpy and testy." So true. DonB
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