Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Elly is asked by a family friend to look after an elderly woman (Meg Foster) living in a remote cabin for a few days. She agrees, but soon discovers there is a demon hiding in the woman just waiting to break free.
Review: So, this is a first for me. Last year I reviewed a movie called The Accursed that, while flawed, had enough going for it to keep me entertained. Both films also have a plot that centers on a maleficent curse but while that one was tied to a family and the land they lived on, this one takes more of a demonic possession vibe. And coincidentally my takeaway from both Accursed movies was just about the same.
The story starts off with a woman named Mary (Alexis Knapp from Grace: The Possession) and her daughter Sadie (Kai Phllipe-Knapp, Alexis Knapp’s real-life daughter) who visit an old witch with the intention of placing a demonic curse on someone. This curse would cause the person to become possessed and Mary wants the devil himself to take up residence in her intended victim. The witch, known as Ms. Ambrose (played by genre mainstay and the lady with the intensely blue eyes, Meg Foster from They Live, 31, Jeepers Creepers III) agrees and activates the curse. But she doesn’t realise until it’s too late that she’s the target of Mary’s vengeance, causing the demon (the devil apparently out-sources this type of work) to possess her as mother and daughter leave her to her fate.
Months later a young woman named Elly (Sarah Grey from Power Rangers, Last Night in Suburbia) takes the job as live-in nurse for the now catatonic Ms. Ambrose. And of course the accursed entity decides it’s time for an upgrade to its current living situation.
Director Kevin Lewis did Willy’s Wonderland, otherwise known as the Nicholas Cage movie where he never speaks and beats the crap out of animatronic creatures that got lost on their way to Five Nights at Freddy’s (non-gamers might want to Google that reference). This time around he goes for a much darker and serious tone with The Accursed and the first thing I applaud here was the choice to use mostly practical effects instead of CGI. I don’t think there’s a single horror fan out there who doesn’t love practical effects over computer generated ones, and the design choices as well as the blood and gory bits all go a long way in adding quality visuals to this story.
That said, this one takes its sweet time getting to the good bits and by the half-hour mark I found myself watching the clock and wondering when things were finally going to get good and scary. Sarah Grey is fine as Elly but sadly she’s the least interesting character in a story that’s focused on her. Personally, I found Alexis Knapp’s Mary more compelling and her story as the mother who curses Ms. Ambrose as revenge for wrongs done to her daughter and her family to be much more interesting. Matter of fact, the entire plot could’ve been built around them and we would’ve had a much better and much more entertaining movie. At one point they introduce Mena Survari who is probably the most recognisable actress here (American Beauty, American Pie, Loser) and who has recently been in a lot of horror and thrillers. But her character is sidelined for most of the runtime even though she plays an integral part in the story. It was just one of the few strange choices and missed opportunities by Lewis that worked against the story as a whole.
Overall, though, I have to give them points for atmosphere and some decent moments that delivered on the tension such a premise requires. And with its open ending it’s possible there might be a continuation to this story that hopefully will learn from its mistakes and deliver something viewers can truly enjoy from beginning to end.
Score: 5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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