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The second film from Sam Raimi’s Ghost House label shares the aspirations of its ‘Grudge’ remake: an old-fashioned B-horror movie, it also aims for the psychological depth of contemporary Asian chillers such as ‘Dark Water’ and ‘The Eye’. Director Kay competently delivers the formulaic frights, but Barry Watson’s log-like lead performance stymies any hope of a deeper undertow.
Traumatised at the age of eight by the disappearance of his father, the now twentysomething Tim (Watson) returns home for his mother’s funeral. Still a closet scaredy-cat, Tim believes the Boogeyman is real, that he took his father, and will one day return to take him. Despite this, he decides to spend the night in his mother’s spooky old gothic house and confront his fears head-on.
Tim’s creepy scenes with young country girl Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak) effectively exploit the slippage between Tim’s distorted imagination and our grasp of solid reality. Then, suddenly, the entire conceit evaporates and we slide into a Stephen King-style ‘monster’ movie. Disappointing and daft.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday March 4 2005
Duration: 86 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stephen Kay
Screenwriter: Eric Kripke, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Cast: Barry Watson
Emily Deschanel
Skye McCole Bartusiak
Lucy Lawless
Robyn Malcolm
Charles Mesure
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