Hack true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), moves his unwitting family into the house of a murdered family to research his latest novel but after discovering a mysterious reel of  ‘home videos’ in the loft containing footage of other murders, he gets a whole lot more than an inside scoop.


Though arguably his strongest film thus far, Scott Derrickson’s (previous films include The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and The Day The Earth Stood Still) feature of true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt’s discovery of some murderous film footage still suffers from predictability and an over-reliance on the horror staples of creepy children and a mildly terrifying face appearing in the darkness. There are indeed many moments to make you jump and in this respect will have you quivering in your seat but if like any hardcore horror junkie you’re looking to be terrified and traumatised, the scares are not the kind that will stay with you after the credits roll. Film nerds will undoubtedly enjoy the continued use of a super 8 projector which features heavily in the storyline but there is little else of interest with the exception of James Ransome (Inside Man) as the dopey deputy who offers to  help Ellison in his research in return for a credit in the finished novel. Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Training Day)in the lead role adds firepower and his performance brings more depth than the average horror but his unnatural attachment to his knitted woolen jumper is perhaps more unnerving than some of the more supernatural elements of the film, he is rarely in a scene without it! 


Ethan Hawke’s provides a strongly acted protagonist and James Ransone is an unexpected delight as a clueless deputy and while there are indeed heaps of jumpy moments to be had, ultimately the scares just don’t provide the fear factor.


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