A classy, chilling adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1958 novel which shifts the setting from late '50s California to Chicago in the late '90s. A boy, Jake Witzky (Cope), talks to people who aren't there. But attention soon shifts to his father, Tom (Bacon), who - following an impromptu hypnosis session with his trainee hypno-therapist sister-in-law (Douglas) - is assailed by hallucinations. This fragmentary barrage of supernatural images and sounds includes encounters with a pale young woman - an apparition linked, in Tom's mind at least, to the disappearance, six months before, of a slow-witted neighbourhood girl. Tom withdraws into himself, never leaving the house and obsessing about the mystery that threatens to overwhelm him. His wife Maggie (Erbe) finally loses patience when he digs up the entire garden in the hope of finding the missing girl's body. Grounding the events in tangible blue collar reality, writer/director Koepp contrasts the Witzkys' mundane family life with the terrifying flashes of horror that erupt into it. The skillful shock cuts will make you jump out of your skin, but it's the digital visualisation of the ghostly Samantha which really makes the flesh crawl.
Cast and crew
Zachary David Cope