After a mysterious global crisis, a young girl, Stephanie is abandoned by her parents and forced to survive on her own as she hides from a malevolent power that stalks her home. When her parents return, they are surprised to find her still alive after they discover the dark, supernatural forces that are wreaking havoc in their home, with Stephanie at the center of the turmoil. From director Akiva Goldsman (Writer of A Beautiful Mind) and Blumhouse Productions, this supernatural horror film stars Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy), Anna Torv (“Fringe”), and Shree Cooks (“American Horror Story”).
First off, some will likely wonder why I have given this movie a four-star rating and I will reply with this comment. I can’t remember when the last film I watched worried me so much and make me so afraid FOR a character as this one did. I’m really serious, until Stephanie’s parents arrived back at the house, I was biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my seat because I was so scared for this helpless little girl and what she was dealing with all by herself, not to mention having to take care of herself by making these silly little meals, or having only her toy turtle for company. For one thing, she’s just way too precious to look at, complete and utter innocence is what you’re looking at here, and I couldn’t stand the thought of whatever terrible thing lurking in the house was going to find and eat her alive. Because of this fear I held the next day even, that is why this film gets a four-star from me. Your mileage may vary, and that’s okay too.
For about the first 30 minutes or so, we are completely left alone with Stephanie as she builds up the mystery clue after clue and begins to unfold scene by scene. For the young girl to have the film alone, certainly has been very brave. Maybe too brave in fact. It’s also clear from the very beginning that she’s not alone there, and her toy turtle Francis is also not the only other presence in the house. Although some places in the film hold a very ominous atmosphere, the daily doings of young Stephanie do not provide us with enough information as to what is going on. This may have something to do with the fact that the premise of the planet is hinted at by news clips, but never adequately explained.
So, a rather tough, but slightly confusing story develops, which is upgraded even more by a few nicely placed jump-scares. I found extremely impressive how Stephanie carried the movie on her young shoulders for the most part, and being the only character on screen for a good while, she fully gives a solid performance that feels sincere, scary, dramatic, sad and everything in between. Like I already said, Stephanie captured my attention from the beginning and never let me go, thanks to its originality of the story. Which by the way was written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, who also wrote Super Dark Times (another must-see film).
If you’re thinking about your usual run-of-the-mill haunted house flicks, think again. Stephanie features a plotline like nothing you’ve seen before, and I really don’t want to go into too many details of the story, so I highly suggest you check this horror movie out. Very close to a complicated puzzle, this film never disrespects the audience, and nothing is presented by lame exposition scenes and in the end, all the pieces come together. It’s a movie that requires your attention to details, all the while being quite scary and freaky in a very traditional way, shadows appearing behind the titular Stephanie, doors closing suddenly, eerie noises during the night and so on.
The entire atmosphere is wonderfully done and it really gives the idea of what a little girl would do during some kind of apocalypse without her parents around. It is a horror movie, but seeing it from the point of view of a kid makes it even worse as while she is smart she is just not an adult. I truly enjoyed this movie, that little girl is a wonderful and brilliant actress and I hope we get to see more from her in the near future. I really cared about all the characters and what they were going through and the decisions they were forced to make. Anna Torv and Frank Grillo both provided solid performances in their own way. If you like horror, you will probably like this movie.
Release Date: April 17, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense
Studio: Universal Pictures
Starring: Frank Grillo, Anna Torv, Shree Crooks
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Akiva Goldsman
Reviewed by: Kathryn Price
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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