The horror genre has had a history of never being afraid to go deeper than what you see on the surface. Whether that be something along the lines of social commentary (a la George A. Romero) or using the horror as a metaphor for something tragic (think Hereditary), horror films have consistently showed zero fear in going there. While it’s nice to obviously turn your brain off and be simply entertained, it’s also nice to challenge oneself. Most of the time, the films which do this can be that much more rewarding. It can make the scares that much more terrifying and the story that much more engaging for the audience. But every so often, a film attempts this and winds up a chore to sit through. Much like this one, unfortunately.
To the film’s credit, they don’t hide the fact this will be a metaphor for grief. We are immediately introduced to the main character attempting suicide and filled in on the reasons why not too long after. The problem with this starts to arise once the main plot of her investigating a family begins. The catch to our main character is she can see dead people. Now, this does result in some genuinely effective scares and set pieces. I won’t deny the film that. Where this becomes a problem is the focus of the plot and our main character. See, the family she’s investigating seems to be constantly forgotten about in favor of making sure our heroine can overcome her grief and trauma. This causes an already two-hour long film to meander and drag. Even towards the end, it almost feels as if they remembered the family at the supposed heart of this story needs a conclusion. And it still felt incomplete on how they decide to handle it.
This film could have used a bit of trimming in its runtime, tighter focus, and maybe less focus on the metaphor. Considering the run of Shudder Originals I’ve watched this month; I hope next is a lot more fun.