The enchanted lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiraling, surreal rampage of vengeance.
Ari requested that Alex and Milly went out to eat in character a few times, and they would sit for up to three hours in silence while Milly wouldn't speak and Alex would try to get her to talk. See more »
When Joan writes down her phone number, she folds the piece of paper before giving it to Annie. Later, when Annie looks at this paper in her workshop, there is no crease, indicating that the paper was never folded. See more »
You know, Annie, you can always build a shrine to all the terrible things in the world, but it doesn't mean that you have to destroy anything that is good.
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I really didn't know what to expect going in to see this film. I had seen the trailer and all of the good press for it, I adore Toni Collete, and I generally enjoy horror films. I left the theater with a pit in my stomach and came back the next day to see it again; this is a film that rewards multiple viewings.
The film began rather predictably, in my opinion. However, the truly unexpected and disorienting end of the first act grabbed my attention and never let up from there. This film digs its hooks in deep and slowly drags you down into a pit of despair. There is a gleam of light at the end of the tunnel, but it isn't what you think. This is the first film in a while to keep me on my toes throughout its runtime, even if its plot isn't groundbreaking. The amazing performances, sublime cinematography, and outrageously outstanding sound design makes this film a real treat for anyone with a special affection for the medium.
I've seen many compare this to The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby, and I agree mostly with those comparisons. However, I also see this film as a distant relation to the original 1976 Carrie. Both films put family drama at the forefront and milk every ounce of dread from the truly hideous realities of familial cohabitation for what it's worth. What makes these films so stirring isn't jump scares, special FX, or "payoffs" to every tense scene they present; it is instead forefronting the all-to-real human tension and making the audience sit with it as uncomfortably as possible. The scenes that stick with me from Carrie aren't just her supernatural revenge at the prom, but the abuse from her mother and the gut-punching shower scene that opens the film. It's those moments of having to experience the very real ugliness of humanity that stir me and stay on my skin for days after seeing a film.
My opinion is that this film is a masterpiece and will certainly be joining my list of all-time favorite horror films. However, it is definitely not for everyone. This is a film that's made to stand out to already-avid film fans with an appreciation for the format; those with short-attention spans and/or those accustomed to the mile-a-minute breakneck pace of most horror films won't enjoy this. I also think (and I'm going out on a limb here) that this is a film most readily accessible to those who have already experienced a major physical or existential loss or crisis in their life or are intimate with the feeling of being manipulated. There a lot of reports of people "giggling" during the film; I think some of this can be chalked up to the sheer discomfort this film causes, but I also think it may in some cases come from not being able to grasp the logic and affective phenomenon of grief that this film so accurately and exquisitely captures. This film is a meditation on themes of grief, family, manipulation, and ultimately a lack of control. This isn't a film like The Conjuring (which is also one of my favorites) that gives you more than enough "cues" to be scared during certain parts of the film; instead, this film relies on your attention to detail and your willingness to be devoured by its sinister textures.
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