The Atoning (2017) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
18 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
NOT Horror, VERY low budget Drama w/ Horror Elements.
betchaareoffendedeasily20 September 2017
'The Atoning' is extremely low-budget, and it does show, and it is not a horror film in the modern blood and guts sense of the term, but rather a drama with common Horror elements. it is supernatural in some ways, but there is no gore to be had, and not really even any jump scares, that's not the kind of movie it is. It is not a movie for anyone who is used to large budgets, and doesn't enjoy micro budget films. It is a much better film than people are giving it credit for, and it is clear most of those watching it have not watched many very low-budget films, and may have not even realized this film is so low-budget. whereas, I watch them frequently, and I generally enjoy them; sometimes more than their big budget counterparts.

It is also not for those who like fast- paced films, or are expecting gore. You will not find any of that here. If you have seen and ldidn't hate movies such as: 'Lo', 'Bethany', or 'Beyond the Gates', you will likely like this film. It isn't the same thematically to any of those per say, but they are all similar in their confinement to one main location, have spotty, but overall good acting, and are extremely low budget.

What you will find here is a quiet, micro budget thriller, with an above average script, great cinematography(the director was a cinematographer), a good score that isn't obnoxious, and some good acting from 2 of the leads(from most of the cast{there is some wooden acting by some), and not good just because it's a low budget film, it is a decent film all around, despite it's flaws.

I've watched a number of films such as this thematically, and although different 'The Forgotten', 'Soul Survivors', 'Premonition'(the one with Sandra Bullock' and 'Passengers'(the one with Anne Hathaway), come to mind, but this film's script has a strength in it's simplicity, whereas those films were often muddled by their convoluted and overly complex plots. The Atoning, while being cryptic by necessity isn't convoluted in the way those films were. The editing is also far better here than those films. Yes, there are a couple choppy sequences here and a couple confusing cuts, but they are brief and easily ignored, and don't hurt the overall film. For the most part, things run smoothly, and the film doesn't suffer from a convoluted script or terrible writing like the films mentioned above.

I very much enjoyed one of the twist, there are a few, and one is very obvious, and even though it was ruined for me in one of these reviews, it didn't ruin my enjoyment since it is an obvious twist.

Yes, the film does a little more foreshadowing than it reasonably should, but again, it did not take away from my enjoyment. There were still enough unanswered questions that kept me guessing and wondering until right at the end when the final things were revealed. Unlike most mystery-type movies, I felt the final reveals to be quite satisfying. I didn't leave feeling dissatisfied, and that is extensively rare for me with movies of this type.

I found the makeup effects towards the end, while primitive, to be well done. I am a lover of practical effects, so I did appreciate that they used very little CG, there are definitely a few aftermarket computer effects, coloring, blue hues, heightened eye color on the creatures, some black swirls, but they were minimal and enhanced the overall effect. I enjoyed the creatures, and I thought the those paying them did very well at being sinister and creepy, you could tell they were having fun.

As for the psychic others mentioned, I'm glad I thought she would be a total scenery chewer, and she kind of is, it made thugs seem less over-the-top, and she wasn't extremely over-the-top as a medium, you want that, go watch 'Witch Board'. I did notice something about her acting was different. I looked on her IMDb profile, and she is primarily a stage actress, things make sense now. This actually explains her somewhat exaggerated expressions(she naturally has a very wide smile and a naturally expressive face), on stage everything has to be bigger to be seen by those in the back, but even with that over exaggeration, she was fine on the whole, and, I thought, effective in her role. The father's acting was not phenomenal, but it was appropriate, once you get to the end, his lack of emotion, which just comes across as bad acting, and maybe it is, makes total sense. While a better actor could have done more with the role overall, he was appropriate to the role and still decent.

The mom and kid were miles away the best acting-wise, and thankfully the worst and most wooden acting was reserved for those with the smallest parts, you'll know once you watch it, it was none of those I already mentioned, saying who may ruin part of the plot.

The direction was serviceable, not spectacular, but good enough. The cinematography was great, some may not appreciate the lingering shots, but I found them effective and enjoyable, not distracting. For a movie with this low of budget, the cinematography is heads and tails above where it should be, and it gives the film a very classy feel. The cinematography is really the best part about this film.

This is a movie that fans of well-made low budget films, slower-paced films, and fans of well-made low-key thrillers will enjoy. Anyone else should steer clear, you will absolutely hate it, which is truly a shame. I hope Mike Williams makes more films and learns from his mistakes the next go round, if he does, he will go on to make some truly great films.

I hope this film finds a larger audience over time, it deserves it.

God Bless ~Amy
14 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Microbudget film that does a few things right, and even more things wrong
manuelasaez5 September 2017
For everything this movie does right, it also fails miserably at almost double the rate. For example, the cast was largely comprised of competent and often exemplary actors, including the lead actress and the child. Really superb performances. Then we have the father who is dull and monotone,two dimensional, and can't express emotion to save his life. The worst of the acting comes from the person who played the Psychic. She was such a damn ham, she literally ruined the second half of the film for me. This person obviously rarely acts, and believes that by being the worst stereotype of a psychic she could possibly muster, she might steal the show. News flash; you ruined every scene you were in with your limited and inane "performance".

The movie takes FOREVER to get going, and when it does, you see it coming from a mile away. Everything in this film has been done before, and more competently, but some of the creepier elements were handled with great consideration. The "antagonists" were just people dressed in black cat suits, and the cheapness of the production really brought down its value. There are no real SFX to be found, everything is practical, but the worst kind of practical. Think "community theater" levels of amateur. It really ruined what was supposed to be the single best part of the film.

Lastly, while the script was serviceable, the story was so limited and sophomoric, it was like watching a Lifetime film (wait, IS THIS A LIFETIME FILM?). The "twist" is cliché, the verbal exchanges made me hate the characters and the final act whimpered like an animal you need to put out of its misery. This movie is the type of production you make with the absolute lowest budget possible, and while it may work for more talented individuals, the people responsible for this film just don't have those skills at there disposal.

Overall, this film got a few things right, especially in regards to the casting. But everything else just falls short of even the most bare bones horror film. I advise the people who made thing movie to secure additional funding for their next project, and to inject a less "school project" aesthetic to the SFX and the cinematography. It really elevates the level of the production when you are considerate about the visuals of said film. Avoid this movie, but keep your eye on anything else these people might make.
12 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Thoroughly enjoyable
craigahrens28 May 2019
I went into this hoping to be entertained and I was. I enjoy indie films and some are quite challenging to get through. But that wasn't the case with, The Atoning. I liked the story and I really enjoyed the lead female actress. I thought she did a terrific job! I'd recommend this film to anyone. Do what I did, get yourself a large bowl of popcorn and sit back and have a good time.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
So boring it became a drag to sit and watch...
paul_haakonsen25 November 2018
When I stumbled upon "The Atoning", I must admit that I was immediately lured by the cover. I didn't even read the synopsis for the movie, the front of the cover was all that was needed to have me interested.

So I knew that I was getting myself into a horror movie. I just didn't know what kind of horror movie.

"The Atoning" turned out to be an unfathomably slow paced horror movie that borrowed heavily on elements from "The Others", but it just failed to be as interesting or groundbreaking as "The Others" was back in the day. There was so little happening throughout the course of "The Atoning" that it was getting progressively more and more difficult to keep interested in watching it.

It should be said that while the storyline and script was atrocious, then the acting performances were actually quite good. Just a shame that they had so little to work with. Virginia Newcomb, playing Vera, was the one whom carried the movie for the most parts.

The movie wasn't even halfheartedly scary. And when the people covered in black paint showed up, I was about ready to just turn off the movie and find something else to watch. But I endured and stuck with "The Atoning" to the end. Some of us suffered through this, so you don't have to.

If you enjoy horror movies then I suggest you find something else to watch, because "The Atoning" is just not worth the time or effort. Maybe if something more interested happened throughout the course of the storyline, yeah... But it didn't, so don't bother.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Its not a bad film
mjsreg16 August 2018
I don't think I would call this a horror - more of a suspense mystery kind of film perhaps.

The acting was OK and so was the story. It does lack something to make the story or characters pop - or stand out as memorable.

If you are expecting gore and being shocked out of your seat you won't get it wiht this film.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Would have had a better time watching paint dry
ms-donnabray5 September 2017
Seriously. The story was so slow, it was painful. The acting was decent here and there but dreadful otherwise. There were elements to the storyline that were intriguing but execution failed miserably. The creatures were spooky until you were presented with them face on. Some things are better left to the imagination. I don't know how this scored a 6.1 on IMDb. Don't waste your time.
12 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
label as horror but it really wasn't
dlmyst-298136 July 2020
In the first 4 minutes of the movie you figure out exactly what happened to the family. If you didn't pick it up at that time the movie pretty much gives you all the pieces before the middle of the movie. Further cements it near the end as the motive of why it all happened. The title of the movie is proper and you need to figure out for whom it was meant. Overall not a bad movie and it does have a couple of jump scares. Guess maybe that's why it was label as horror?
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Worth the watch with an open mind
hjukki-5500616 May 2020
Did not know what to expect so I saw it without any expectations. The concept is good, but the low budget and at times terrible acting puts you off. All in all it wasn´t a total waste of time for me and got me thinking about the angle the movie focuses on.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Negative reviews by dribbling, driveling morons, as usual
hoytyhoyty9 September 2017
This film is very low budget, and slightly stilted in a couple of places.

It still works, and works quite well.

It has a similar plot line to a major Hollywood release starring a terrible actress. I can't give its name without revealing plot details.

But that piece of crap is a multi-million dollar budget toss-fest, and 'The Atoning' is better than it.

Story builds.

Nice foreshadowing.


A couple of tasteful jump-scares.

Special FX effort and money spent where it matters, not scattered willy nilly to try and polish a Spielberg or Whacko-Cows-on-Skis turd.

Soundtrack carefully subdued and only 'kicks' where it's needed.

ACTUAL PLOT! (They hired a writer.)

Extra twist, a good one, at no extra cost!

But now, we come to the problem with tiny budget films, especially intelligent ones that go over dribbling, driveling morons' heads as 'The Atoning' did.

It is this -

They have no promotional clout whatsoever.

The other day I went searching, and found what I was looking for. Sites, services and individuals that offer to give lots of positive reviews, on IMDb and other review sites, for money. I knew they existed but I had to convince myself. They do. They're real. And I don't doubt for a moment they can deliver what they offer.

Thus it is possible for Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Meth, or Dreamcatcher, or anything starring Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman, to have an IMDb score higher than 1.

I think if the world of reviews was an honest world, few films would get above 5.

'The Atoning' deserves the 7 I'm giving it.

Eat me.



21 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Entertaining Film
vans-704135 October 2017
I'm no critic, and I'm not looking for a literary masterpiece. I enjoyed this film, and had no expectations. I found myself caught up most of the time, and a little tense at times. I highly recommend this film if you want to be entertained for a little while. I'm not exactly sure what category or genre I'd place this film into, but it has elements of horror and drama for sure. Watch it!
7 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Watch the Atoning
dwood199929 September 2017
After watching The Atoning, I can without hesitation recommend this film. It builds a tension that quickly unfold with a clever twist and an adequate climax. The performances are all enjoyable especial the young child who is great. The demons are mysterious and very "Jaws" like which is refreshing in a genre that is usually way over the top.
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Passes an evening
paulcouch-7901520 October 2021
Please don't listen to the naysayers - this isn't a bad little film. It's a bit of a slow-burner and maybe derivative in parts but the performances are solid and there are a few twists to enjoy.

Usually these "written by/directed by/produced by" projects fill me with dread as they're often done for the sake of vanity but Michael Williams can write a script and uses his cast well.

One puzzle is the number of actors who appear in the end credits roll but aren't in the film. Was it edited for Amazon Prime?
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Horror That Uses Old School Fear, Not Gore
sbsnowbunny6 July 2021
I'm not a fan of horror films that rely on blood and guts to inspire fear. Tickling our imaginations is more my preference. But, to each his own. This movie started rather slow but it still caught my interest. I knew quite quickly what they should have known all along. And rightly so! It wasn't about what happened. It was about the family figuring it out. The female lead and the son put on some good acting. The male lead wasn't quite as good but he was still quite a bit beyond okay. I would have tweaked the ending a bit...just because I'm a sap, lol.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Loved One Third of It
dianesedmak8 March 2020
This movie was completely intriguing until they brought out 'the demons'. Why is it that the big reveal of the monster, ghost, demon is always a letdown.

However I have to say that the demons in this case were done artfully and their movements were dance-like which is rather novel for this genre.

But when are horror movie makers going to learn that, for truly horrifying effects, the more that's left to the imagination the better.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Seriously... can anyone care about these characters?
kardosma14 March 2018
Aside from two sanctimonious reviewers who criticised people who weren't overly positive about this movie, I think a lot of people are on the same page with this. For me, any movie where the characters haven't engaged me by the 20 minute mark is a dead loss. No matter your budget, you can still make your characters appealing or engaging for the audience. These people were so dull and monotonous that they were actually repellent in a dull, lifeless way. I watch a lot of horror (which this wasn't), and a lot of low budget movies (because everyone deserves a go, and this was definitely low budget)... but this one just didn't have any appeal at all. To be honest, I think if you're going to make something on a seriously low budget, you may want to take a chance and be creative rather than remake parts of other more successful movies in such a drab and lifeless way. Sorry guys! Just not the movie for me.
5 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dark atonement
TheLittleSongbird5 June 2018
'The Atoning' drew me into seeing it, with a cool poster/cover, an intriguing and quite creative premise and as someone with a general appreciation for horror. That it was low-budget, which from frequent personal experience is rarely a good sign due to that there are so many poor ones out there, made me though apprehensive.

It is sadly however yet another film seen recently, hence some reiteration because the exact same strengths and flaws are here present in those films, that to me could have been much better considering its potential which it doesn't do anywhere near enough with. 'The Atoning' is far from terrible, with a plethora of problems (huge ones too) and doesn't do enough with its potential, which was hardly small. There are things that are decent enough to make it a step above weak.

Lets start with the positives. The scenery is atmospheric and spooky, and the film is competently shot. The music has some creepiness.

Best thing about 'The Atoning' actually is the ending when the film finally gets intriguing and is actually pretty clever, even then it feels too little too late. The acting generally, apart from the dreadfully hammy acting for the psychic, is better than average, particularly from Cannon Bosarge. There is some creepiness here.

Going on further to the negatives, the story does feel over-stretched and some of it feels vague and under-explained and never gaining momentum. Too many characters are too sketchy and with nowhere near enough to make one want to endear to them. Their annoying and illogical decision making and behaviours frustrates.

Making the film feel bland and forgettable with not enough heart put into it. The effects are sometimes ropy and the sound quality is obvious and utilised cheaply (being too loud in the build ups and people's reactions).

Dialogue can be stilted and rambling while the pace and film drags on forever, never recovering until finally getting intriguing to the ending. Found too many the supposedly shocking moments not surprising or scary and the supposedly creepy atmosphere dreary, due to the excessive obviousness, a lot of dumb and vague moments and explanations and the lack of tension and suspense.

A lot of 'The Atoning' has underdeveloped plot elements and often nonsensical and confusing character motivations, while too many of the things to make you jump or shocked are far from creative or scary and are pretty tame.

The psychological elements are unimaginative and are more odd than scary, generally failing to show any sense of horror. Some badly sagging momentum too. The direction is leaden, got the sense their heart was not in it.

Concluding, lacklustre but not terrible. 4/10 Bethany Cox
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Buildup Okay..Payoff Crap
wandernn1-81-68327425 April 2020
Really the buildup on this movie was alright, but the payoff was lame. It's really not much of a horror movie although there is a small amount of tension as the reveal is coming as to what is going on. But it's really small. And it's more of an attempt on a lesson of morality than a horror film. And a testament that people can be real scumbags! Haha.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absolutely excruciating!
CabbageCustard30 January 2020
OMG! This has to be one of the most tedious, unexciting and just plain boring movies I have ever watched. I am just gobsmacked.

The thing is, there is a very interesting premise at the heart of this movie. Unfortunately, the execution is awful.

I appreciate that this is a very low-budget production and for that reason I can overlook the fact that there are no good actors (with the possible exception of Cannon Bosarge) and certainly no big name actors; I can overlook the risible 'effects' job creating the demons, which makes them look like ballet dancers in blackface (I thought blackface was very un-PC??); I can sort of overlook the dreary, monotonous background music (though I resent being forced to listen to it - it is truly awful!). What I can't overlook or forgive is how painfully slowly and drearily the story is presented. It is a horror/suspense movie with no horror or suspense. It doesn't help that the two adult characters, Vera and Ray, are played by actors of with exactly zero personality or appeal or that the script employs quite a few horror movie cliches that you will recognise from better films. One brief bright spark is the acting of Dorothy Weems, who plays a spiritual medium. She is so over the top that it's hilarious. The problem is, it isn't actually meant to be hilarious. Nonetheless, it is.

As I said at the start of my review, there is a very good premise at the heart of this film. Hopefully a studio or film maker with more talent and finance will latch onto it and do it justice.
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed