2015 psychological horror movie

Rating: 11/20

Plot: A woman is paid to be the caretaker in a creepy New York mansion and ends up being really bad at the job.

My brother recommended this, and I really expected to enjoy it after the initial black and white shots of a strangely desolate New York City and the interiors of this fancy house. Unfortunately, there's such a gap between the quality of the cinematography and director Mickey Keating's artistic eye and the movie's central character or her story. Visually, this is borderline great. Keating uses every angle of this house well, sometimes giving us shots that other directors wouldn't likely even consider. The contrast between the white walls of most of the house and the darker character is often striking. Askew angles only sometimes mirror what must be going on in the main character's mind, and random shots of staircases, doors, and other things sometimes just seem to be there to pass the time. Still, the visuals are what draw you in and keep you interested.

A lone character's descent into madness is the kind of thing that's been done many times before, and it's usually done a lot better than this. Lauren Ashley Carter's performance never really works for me. She's pretty good at walking in slow motion, but when she's called upon to show any real emotion, it seems like she's out of her element. I never believe what Carter and Keating want me to believe about the character no matter how many shocking sequences are thrown at me, and by the time Carter has a phone conversation with what I suppose was her attempt at a demonic-sounding voice, the performance became almost comical. She did show off a lovely set of eyes, however.

Keating also throws all these editing tricks that grew tiresome. A few uses of a nearly-subliminal demon face or whatever the hell was thrown in there with a metallic screeching noise or quick cuts of the character's face or other rapid-fire montages might have worked, but when they were used ad nauseum, they only showed that Keating is a bit of a one-editing-trick pony. It got irritating.

Nothing surprised me about this character's journey as I had the whole story mapped out in my head way before it all unfolded. And the end was a bit of a cop-out as Keating refused to provide the answer to a frustrating riddle.

Keating, with his visual sense and willingness to take some chances, might be worth keeping an eye on, but he's going to need some originality and better storytelling to match the unique visual appeal.

No comments: