The mastermind behind The Conjuring, Insidious and Saw series has unleashed a potential new horror franchise – which is saved by its ‘bonkers’ twist.
Up until that point, James Wan’s (who also has Aquaman and Furious 7 on his impressive CV) very gory supernatural horror is a hit-and-miss affair – with some unintentionally comedic moments and intermittently ‘ropey’ special effects thrown in – but a movie-saving ‘180’ about two-thirds through (which won’t be spoiled here), doesn’t just save it, but could just do enough to spark a sequel.
Because until that point it was lingering in mediocre B-movie territory.
When the abusive partner of pregnant thirtysomething Madison (The Mummy’s Annabelle Wallis) is gruesomely murdered at their house – this leads to the bereaved woman (who lost her unborn child in the attack) getting paralysed by the shocking visions of further grisly killings when she returns home.
But to make matters worse, when George Young’s Detective Shaw investigates – with Madison’s sister Sydney (Maddie Hasson) supporting her – it soon becomes clear that her visions haven’t been nightmares, but in fact terrifying realities, as she’s somehow subconsciously witnessed these bloody murders.
But after delving into her troubled past, it soon becomes clear that Madison has eradicated memories of childhood trauma where she had a sadistic imaginary friend called Gabriel – that she has seemingly brought to life in a ‘boogeyman’ type fashion, and has links to these brutal tragedies.
And even though it meanders in routine paint-by-numbers paranormal fashion for the first hour or so, when the plotline to Gabriel’s existence gets ‘fleshed out’ – that’s when director Wan makes his mark. Albeit a bit late in the day.
But for the last half hour or so, he belatedly makes this malevolence an infectious watch.
Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now
Cast: Annabelle Wallis, George Young, Maddie Hasson, Michole Briana White, Susanna Thompson, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jake Abel, Zoe Bell & Jacqueline Mckenzie
Running Time: 1 Hr 51 Mins
Director: James Wan
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