Okay so I watched this unplanned last night after watching A Walk in the Woods (review to come). I was originally going to read, but then I ran across this on Amazon Prime and thought, “Hey I almost bought that movie Saturday!” That led me to watching it. Thank you Amazon Prime, thank you because I didn’t want to spend $20.00 on this.
What’s it About?
17 year old Angela Gray accuses her father of raping her. Though having no memory of this, the father says he did it. Detective Bruce Kenner along with psychology professor Kenneth Raines, work to get to the bottom of what really happened. Kenneth uses hypnotic regression to trigger memories not only in John, his father, but also the other members of the Gray family. This brings to light the activity of a satanic cult. Angela recalls, in very detailed manners, the rituals, the rape, the cult sacrificing babies, the painted faces, and tells a chilling story. Soon, even our detective falls prey to what he believes is real and what is fake.
Who is in it?
Ethan Hawke as the detective, Emma Watson as Angela Gray, and David Thewlis as Kenneth our psychologist. Along with Lothaire Bluteau, Dale Dickey, David Dencik, and Devon Bostik. Devon Bostik being in this actually surprised me and made me happy because I love him on The 100.
Should You Watch It?
First off, it is important to note that this film is inspired by true events. During the 80’s and 90’s a widespread paranoia about satanic child abuse and rituals was sweeping through the nation, and there were even some court cases but a lack of hard evidence. I always like when a movie is based off of something real and talks about something so controversial.
Ethan Hawke does a tremendous job at playing the detective. The detective starts off having a hard time believing that a satanic cult, or the devil, is real. Then he falls into the paranoia that the cult will be after him next. He captures the seriousness, confusion, belief, and fear of his character very well.
Emma Watson also gives a pretty good performance. If you wanna keep watching her in roles outside of Harry Potter give this a shot. She does a pretty convincing job of playing deeply disturbed Angela Gray who is involved in nearly unspeakable deeds.
Technically the film is also pretty good. Script wise it is strong, and the camera angles are beautifully done. For some people, it would be a turn off that it is hard to tell real vs. fake at times and the special effects do get a little out there, but there is definitely worse
The film’s subject is not for everyone. If you do not want to see a deeply religious person, the satanic devil involvement, a stereotypical psychologist who is science minded, and the discussion of rape, sacrificing, and child abuse then this film is not for you. Seriously, I warned you.
The ending. I saw the ending coming about half-way through the film. Taking into consideration I was familiar with the phenomena and the cases the film is based on, and because of one very specific shot put into the film, I saw it coming. I think they tried to give closure to the viewers, and the ending was okay, but I wish it was done slightly differently.
Okay I would give this a 7.5/10. Cinematically and technically this film was sound. Alejandro Amenabar did a great job directing this, his camera angles, choice of lighting, and overall direction was well done and complimented the film. I liked the core, special effects, script, and acting overall. This is a good mystery/thriller. Is it something you need to watch right now? Nah, probably not. However, it is worth a try. I mean I would watch this again just to pay more attention to the detective as he becomes obsessed with this case. I mean OBSESSED with this case, sleep-deprived, confused, and scared, but also confident at times. Brava Ethan Hawke, brava. He really brought it all together.