Expanded by writer-director Nicholas McCarthy from his own 11-minute short, this haunted house movie achieves a frightening intensity with limited means, but also feels under-characterised and overstretched.
When her mother dies, Annie (Caity Lotz) returns to the unhappy family home to find that her ex-drug addict sister, Nicole (Agnes Bruckner), has vanished. Awoken by strange noises and flung about by an unseen presence, Annie is further unnerved by the disappearance of her visiting cousin, Liz (Kathleen Rose Perkins), who looked after her missing sister’s young daughter. Haley Hudson is striking as a fragile, stick-thin medium who senses an evil presence and Casper Van Dien is solid as a cop who finds a hidden room Annie doesn’t remember from her childhood. Annie’s subsequent investigations uncover some dark, disturbing family secrets.
By the time Lotz’s gutsy heroine fashions a home-made ouija board, the desperate message is clear: no matter how effective, a string of creepy camera moves, slow-motion dream sequences and subtle hints of supernatural activity are not enough to sustain a full-length feature.