The Presence (2010) Poster

(2010)

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  • A woman (Mira Sorvino) seeks refuge in an isolated cabin on Piken Lake. Unbeknown to her, she is sharing the cabin with a seemingly benign presence, a ghost (Shane West) who watches her every move. When the woman's boyfriend (Justin Kirk) pays a surprise visit, the haunting grows more menacing because a second presence, a mysterious man in black (Tony Curran), shows up to stir trouble between the woman, her boyfriend, and the ghost.

  • The Presence is a ghost story written, directed, and co-produced by Tom Provost.

  • Several reasons are offered to the viewer. (1) The cabin is owned by her grandmother. (2) The woman used to spend her summers there as a child. (3) She wants some down time to spend doing her 'work' -- writing or researching. (4) She wants some time away from her boyfriend to think about making a commitment to him. (5) She has bad memories from her childhood, and this cabin is a safe haven for her.

  • Actually, there are two of them. One is the ghostly presence who was inhabiting the house before the woman arrived. The other is a darker, menacing presence. Watch when Mr Browman (Muse Watson), the boatman, arrives with supplies...there's also a dark, hooded figure seated next to him in his boat. At one point, the woman finds a book lying on the floor and opens it to find an article about an escaped criminal drowning in the lake. No date is given, but the newspaper costs 12 cents, so it must have been years ago, but whether the article is referring to the ghost, to the menacing presence, or to an unrelated incident is unknown. What is known is that the ghost inhabiting the house is confined there, but the dark presence is following the woman.

  • The filming location is given as Mount Hood, a mountain located in northern Oregon, about 50 miles east of Portland and 20 miles south of Government Camp. In some scenes, particularly those showing the boat arriving and departing, Mount Hood can be seen in the distance.

  • To get rid of the spiders in the seat. Although the cabin is pristine inside and it's freezing outside, spiders have apparently taken over the outhouse.

  • The ghost has a fondness for the woman. The dark presence suggests that he can have her, along with other advantages such as cigarettes and freedom from the cabin (where the ghost is confined), if he'll agree to serve 'the master'. In order to prove his allegiance, however, the ghost must first kill the woman's boyfriend.

  • The dark presence whispers to the woman that her fiance is bad and will try to molest her children, just like her father did to her. He twists her boyfriend's words in such a way that she believes it is her own thoughts and fears.

  • After finding the lost ring, the woman returns to the cabin looking for her boyfriend, asking him to forgive her, but he appears to have made good on his promise to leave the island. Yet, when she looks in the closets, she finds his clothes and his bags and realizes that he must still be there somewhere. When the door to the closet closes itself, she begins to suspect that there is another presence in the cabin. She asks whether there is someone there and what it wants. With the ghost's answers (one rap for yes, two for no), she learns that there is another presence in the house and that she should be afraid of him. She runs to hide in her secret place, where she finds her boyfriend lying unconscious. Meanwhile, the menacing presence corners the ghost and reprimands him for communicating with the woman. The dark presence then goes into the secret place and reveals himself to the woman, informing her that he has been watching over her like he watched over her mother before her, imploring her to believe that he is a good man and that her boyfriend is the one who will do to her and her children what her father did to her. The woman chooses not to believe him, knowing that he is a liar. 'Do your worst,' she challenges. Suddenly, the man in black's screams are heard as darkness falls over the island. The woman goes inside the cabin and, looking out the window, sees the dark shadow of a man in the woods. The ghost sees him, too, and for the first time, he screams and asks the woman to forgive him. The front door begins to rattle then bursts open to reveal the man (Deobia Oparei). Believing him to be 'the master', the ghost says, 'No.' Suddenly, the darkness goes away, and light fills the door. Realizing that the woodsman is the one who helped to save the boyfriend when he fell from the cliff and to replace the ring the woman thought was lost, the ghost takes his hand and walks into the light. As they disappear, the boatman appears in the door. He helps get her boyfriend out from the secret place and into his boat, where the woman cradles her fiance in her arms and assures him of her love. As the boat leaves the dock, a dark, hooded figure can be seen sitting in the boat with them.

  • Just as the woman had a demon whispering in her ear, the boatman has his own demon. 'We all have personal demons whispering in our ears,' says director Tom Provost in the DVD commentary.

  • It's hard to recommend movies similar to The Presence because the movie itself is considered original and innovative. However, those who have seen The Presence have compared it to Stephen King's Secret Window (2004) (2004) based on the idea of a person taking refuge in an isolated cabin looking for some time to write. Another comparison is to the Paranormal Activity series, Paranormal Activity (2007) (2007), Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) (2010), and Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) (2011), which involves a supernatural 'presence' that haunts the lives of two sisters. Some of the movies that the director cites in his DVD commentary as being particularly inspirational to him include: Frantic (1988) (1988), The Hurt Locker (2008) (2008), and Rosemary's Baby (1968) (1968) for the way they slowly build up tension in the audience, The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) (1972) for its scary outhouse scene, The Ring (2002) (2002), The Exorcist (1973) (1973), Poltergeist (1982) (1982), and The Changeling (1980) (1980) for the way they portray ghosts and demons, and Klute (1971) (1971) and Annie Hall (1977) (1977) for their cinematic composition.

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