I was meant to see this movie a week ago, back when I was without my phone which had been severely broken by the rain. My tickets were booked, I was raring to go and then I found out my phone replacement was coming when I was meant to see the movie. So I couldn’t go. And ironically, this movie had themes of a lack of technology. It is kind of good I didn’t see it or I would have felt mocked!
This movie is great though, mockery aside, because this film is far from humorous. I knew nothing about it except that it was a horror film and I think that is the best way to view it. If you haven’t heard of this movie, then you are the perfect person to see it. One slight plot correction I will make is that this not necessarily a horror film and is actually much more about survival- there are some chilling and frightening moments, but it is not a traditional horror movie. There’s very little in the way of gore or brutality.
Joel Edgerton (The Gift, The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty) is the most recognisable cast member and plays a great role here in what is probably the stand out performance of the film. He is very believable and there are some great small moments with his character. Christopher Abbott (best known from TV’s Girls), Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis Presley no less) fill out the rest of the cast with Kelvin Harrison Jr forming the large proportion of the audience perspective in a slightly off-putting role.
How this film really comes to life is the way it is shot. Beautifully long and eerie perspectives are chosen frequently, creating great tension with several scenes arranged to give you a scare. As with most effective horror films, the real fear comes from the unknown and the threat is never truly revealed. The mystery forms the major way that the fear is realised with some disturbing dream sequences thrown in for good measure. I was left unsure whether some parts were real or not which multiplied that tension further.
There were one or two problems with the movie. One came from a slight lack of real narrative, which isn’t always an issue, but here left me feeling at times as if the movie wasn’t going anywhere. It is a slow movie, which suited me fine, but might put off someone looking for more of a horror thrill ride. The second issue came from a slightly ambiguous ending. A dilemma is put to the characters and the audience just after half way through the film and the ending showed some scenes implying a solution to the dilemma, but it was left a little too ambiguous for my liking. Perhaps that was the point but it left me a little unsatisfied.
However, I would definitely recommend this movie. The company A24 are really coming to the forefront in making smaller and often quite unsettling films. Keep an eye out for their work if you are a fan of horror. This film is another intriguing film by them and a good one to catch on TV or on DVD to freak you out in your own home where it really will have the most effect on you. Get watching.