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Annie Graham (Toni Collette) has just suffered the loss of her mother. At the funeral, we discover that she and her mother had a difficult relationship. Her mother was particularly close to Annie’s daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro), but not to her son Peter (Alex Wolff). The death of Annie’s mother launches a series of events that will forever change her family. This is an interesting twist on the horror genre. There really isn’t any blood, and there are no things that make you jump in your seat. The horror is embedded in the family and its dysfunctions. The reason I liked it as much as I did was Toni Collette’s performance – the academy doesn’t really recognize actors and actresses in these kinds of films, but her performance as a mom who becomes progressively consumed by tragedy is amazing. I also liked Alex Wolff a lot; he plays a typical older teenage boy who thinks he is “all that” but slowly becomes consumed by the terror of what is happening.  The camera work is particularly effective – the close-ups of the faces of mother and son, in particular, are quite stunning in how much they reveal what is going on with very few words. Thumbs up for me for a film that I really enjoyed in spite of an ending that I did not like at all and found cliché. I would be interested in hearing what others think once they see the film. Those who like horror films and great acting will find this satisfying.

About Gary Burkholder

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