|Index||2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After adopting a nice girl, a workaholic couple come to learn the truth
behind her fear of an imaginary friend only she can see, and as their
lives begin to unravel they find the true cause of the being's
appearance and must stop it before it's too late.
A pretty flawed effort, this one really has a lot to really drag it down but not a great deal that it gets right. The few bright spots are the few times it really lets the ghost's presence be felt, which isn't often but generate some fine sequences nonetheless, including the dollhouse attack and the fire in the kitchen among a few others. Beyond those, though, there's not a whole lot this really gets right as it's an endless series of clichés built upon the nonsensical nature of no one believing the mother who they continually claim to be unbalanced and mentally unstable, which goes nowhere and has become very tired overall. That really drags the middle of the film down and really brings the film to a halt far too often, giving this one a pretty dragged-out feeling and more of a Drama feel than out-and-out Horror. On top of that, it's not sure what kind of film it wants to be, since there's a feeling of it being either the ghost of the girl's deceased adoption home friend or the spirit of her unborn baby seeking revenge for being forgotten, and it plays both out while never connecting any threads and making it one big mess. It's been done before and better, so this is a very flawed effort.
Rated PG-13: Violence, Language and children-in-jeopardy.
Catherine McCormack is a wonderful actress (I've been a fan of her ever
since Braveheart) but even she couldn't pull this one up to par. She
gives it the old college try though, and frankly her performance is
about the only redeeming feature I can find in the movie.
McCormack and Molla play the adoptive parents of an eight year old girl called Isabel who quickly finds an 'imaginary' friend in her new home. The invisible presence goes by the name of Stevie and, as you guessed, isn't entirely imaginary. The screenplay is average at best, mostly circling around the tired old cliché of the mother trying to convince the husband that the house is haunted. There are very few effective scares and you can see the end coming a mile off.
Clichés in a ghost movie can be passable though and the script is really not the problem here. The movie has two much bigger weaknesses - the child actress and the directing.
I'm not going to dwell to much on the child's performance. A cursory glance at her IMDb page shows that this was her first (and only) movie so I'm guessing she was perhaps cast as a favor to a friend of the crew or something similar and doesn't deserve a battering from an armchair critic like me. Suffice it to say she's out of her depth here... by a long, long way.
What I will rip on, though, is the directing. Bryan Goeres - the guy at the helm - seems to be one of those people who just somehow ended up in the wrong job. The directing in Stevie isn't just boring and uninspired, it's also just... bad. There are tracking and framing errors here that I wouldn't even expect from one of my parent's flip phone vacation videos. It seems that Goeres isn't even aware of things like the rule of thirds. The camera sticks on uncomfortably amateurish perspectives that pulled me right out of the movie. To say it looks like a TV movie would be doing TV an injustice. Frankly, it kind of looked like rejected Mexican soap opera.
In conclusion, despite a brave effort from McCormack, Stevie was just too amateurish in many other important aspects to earn more than a 3/10 from me.
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