Director: Mike Flanagan.
Starring: Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay,Kate Bosworth. USA. 1h37m
A highly sentimental fantasy horror centred around one orphaned boy, Cody (Tremblay)who in early throes of the movie merely escapes with his life, as the dramatic opening we see his is adopted father struggling to shoot him. he soon thrust to the care of a new loving couple, Jessie and Mark (Bosworth/Jane). Despite their attempts to take him and love her fragile child there’s still dealing with the loss of their own son, but after noticing strange events around bedtime a couple of forced to look into the history of the unusual child they have taken in.For all intents and purposes Cody seems like an intelligent polite young boy and while he’s happy meeting his new parents the night activity is quite alluring, Cody is obsessed with butterflies and after he’s run out of stimulants and finally gone to bed, amazing things start to happen the whole house comes alive with array of butterflies and moths going in vibrant colours missing develops into a waking dream where Jesse and Mark able to see and interact but the ghostly presence of a deceased son. Things remain quite sweet at first until one day Cody is approached by a school bully and a more sinister creature; that arrived with the butterflies and moths makes itself known and has a devastating effect on anyone who comes near the boy. As his dreams slowly turn into nightmares and the dark presence that surrounds him affects more and more people, Jessie becomes worried about the boy hasn’t slept for 2 days and give him sleeping pills; not realising that it’s only one the boys asleep does this monster appear, and when he’s rendered totally unconscious there is no way of stopping it.
There’s a lot to like here but sadly the film is only half baked. The beginning takes a little while to get going but it does pick up momentum. Cody, is the ultimate of cute kids, and I can see his face will appear in a ton more films before the next year is out, Jane was totally underused but provided a decent father which was similar to his role in The Mist (2007) but his character gets cast off way too soon and it seems to always be the role of the mother in these films which is a shame as Jane could have done it. The heroine, Kate Bosworth has always been one of those actresses that I never pay much attention to and it was hard to watch her in this, there was hardly any power or effort in her. The film sings from a similar hymn sheet as Mama (2013), orphaned kids being protected by a dark/monstrous force, although applied in a stranger way here. No real source is given until the end which gives the viewer something to keep guessing about but the payoff was crap to say the least, I personally felt quite cheated at the end.
A few scenes really stand out when the creature appears and attacks, the most impressive happens in the classroom, where a bully approaches Cody while he slumbers at his desk, before the child can really get near the boy the butterflies/moths appear and this slender man style figure appears, a young girl comes into the classroom behind it and it does this awesome flick back that will have to be seen for the full affect. But he creature effects are done well and really do up the ante.
Sadly a few creeps and freaky monster just isn’t enough to really make a film. But no one really appears to get their blood up and give a bold performance, it’s a bit bland in that sense but incredibly watchable, but due to the massive fall down at the end it’s not all that re watchable, especially the detailed explanation of events as if the audience needed it’s handheld, or in case we missed something, give me some credit I was paying attention.
Still it remains a warm an inviting thriller that isn’t afraid to unleash a bit of horror, but absolutely no gore, which is unusual these days.
R – Mama (2013), Oculus(2013)
L – Orphaned Kids, A-Z of Ghost Films