As a psychological thriller, this movie is actually kind of interesting, but it falls short just at the last part by keeping too much secret and not revealing the last sliver of information that might have set it over the top. The movie has the acting talent, it has the storyline, and it has the supernatural element that can make it work. And yet, for all that, it somehow hampers itself by not giving away that small tidbit that might open the story wide and allow people to enjoy it. It’s almost as though the movie took its own secrets to heart and decided to try saying as much as possible. The overall story is one that has been seen before in various ways, but the fact is that sending a beautiful young woman to a big, old, creepy mansion for a reason that’s meant to make a lot of sense. Educating a young girl is a good reason, but even back in the 90s, this wasn’t the type of job that a lot of people sought out.
Finn Wolfhard’s character is downright creepy.
While he’s not introduced right away, Miles ends up being a character that tends to go back and forth between being a friendly young man and a creepy, threatening individual that causes the story to feel a little more uncertain since his constant mood swings make him feel like more than a troubled teen, they make him feel unstable in a manner that’s actually dangerous. As the movie progresses, it becomes obvious that Kate is seeing things as she continues to wake up at night due to one disturbance or another. One has to ask themselves though, how many times they’d allow themselves to be frightened before they said that enough is enough. When she starts to take note of the ghosts that she can see in the mirror, Kate begins to come unglued slowly but surely. One can only imagine the stress of not being able to sleep and having to deal with an irascible teen that was born to privilege.
The overall storyline is great, but there’s some vital component missing that’s hard to pin down.
Somewhere in this story, there’s something that isn’t revealed or something that should be added that doesn’t manage to come to the fore. As a ghost story, this movie does work, but it almost feels as though it’s waiting to reveal something truly terrifying, and in the end, all it can do is envelop the lead character in a vision that makes the audience wonder what really happened. As Kate continues to decline, seeing ghosts here and there, and finding hints and clues as to what happened to the woman who came to the house before she did, things continue to decline as the kids become more and more distant from Kate, as their entitled nature is fostered by the woman who has cared for them over the years. As she continues to allow the entitled behavior to continue, Kate figures out very quickly that Mile and his sister Flora are perfectly comfortable in their secure bubble of irresponsibility.
It’s a little frustrating to realize that this story could have been so much better.
It’s tough to blame the actors since they played their parts quite well, as each one of them played off of each other in a way that can’t help but be described as masterful. But somehow, in some way, the story fails to inspire in a meaningful way, and the overall effect is one that feels irritating after a while. It’s as though the audience is waiting for something to happen for too long, and when something does finally happen, it’s not what was expected or desired. Something about this ghost story made it feel basic after a while, even if it was gearing up to be something else. In a way, it’s almost as though the movie was a combination of a bunch of different old-school horror elements that were dashed together in order to see what would happen, almost like a twisted version of a Jackson Pollock painting. The initial action that opens the movie was actually more entertaining than most of the overall tale.
The ending was interesting, so there’s that.
When it appears that Kate and the kids have escaped the house, it turns out that they’re still inside, and the scene during which Kate accidentally breaks Flora’s doll replays itself. When the kids leave her alone in a huff, she’s somehow transported to a very barren room with a single, posh bed. When she notes the form of her mother kneeling in front of her, she walks up to the woman, who turns to look at Kate. What Kate sees makes her scream, but the audience is never given the full view of what she sees. All in all, this movie is like a promise that doesn’t get kept.a ghost story