A horror movie that keeps you as clueless as its characters. Delivers reliable jump scares and occult visuals forming what is the beginning of an aptly uneasy but hopefully entertaining range of movies.
The movie’s plot initially revolves around a family desperately trying to figure out the cause behind the ominous occurrences in their household. It begins with the small things like phantom sounds from seemingly unoccupied rooms and electronic interference. We see the tension rise steadily as we get to the more serious stuff like moving furniture and intermittent visions of demons. We see all this unfold from the perspective of the mother and like her are led to believe that the house is haunted and doesn’t want the family staying there. They make a hasty decision to move and things seem to calm down for a while, before the visions return once again, much stronger than before.
Having exhausted every other option, we see the family bring in their grand matron who is also an expert in the occult. She instantly pinpoints the source of the haunting to the kid and not the house, claiming that some spirits have taken control of his body and are trying to find their way into this world. After some more exposition we find out that the family is stuck in a generation wide tussle between the real world and the “Astral plane”. The mother-in-law goes on to explain that both her son and her grandson had the ability to reach into the astral plane and communicate with these demons. But since it was all too weird and unacceptable, they’d left this ability uncultivated and suppressed. The kid is shown to be particularly good at this and as a result is being used as a conduit into this world. After realizing all this the father to use his suppressed abilities to go and bring back his kid from the other world. He succeeds in bringing the kid back, but things take a turn for the worse when the demons “infect” him instead. This, I presume, sets up the sequel.
This movie is a very streamlined affair, with a singular twist placed smack dab in the middle of the second act. It’s not completely unpredictable and there is plenty of forshadowing and even evidence by the time it appears. By the time the mystic explains what is going on, the audience is also as hungry as the characters in trying to understand what is happening around them.
Given that most horror movies tend to botch their plots so bad, any movie with a decent enough plot and good scares automatically ends up being ahead of the curve. I fully expect the sequels to underwhelm or roughly maintain a similar course as is the case with most franchises these days.