Director – Eric Red
Cast – Famke Janssen, Bobby Cannavale, Ed Westwick, Michael Pare, John Fallon, Patricia Charbonneau, Kevin Greer
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Here’s a film that I found quite randomly, and after reading on the plot I decided I had to see this film due to how interesting and original it was. Although the film does have a low budget feel to it, and the CGI effects could have been much better, director Eric Red(who wrote the original “Hitcher’ films) still delivers a slightly above average thriller/ghost story.
The film stars the sometimes pretty yet always bitchy Famke Janssen(Phoenix from “X-Men” trilogy) as Marnie, a battered ex wife who killed her abusive husband(who was a cop) in self-defense. Due to legal ramifications that are never explained, she seems to have been charged with his murder, but let out of prison in the agreement that she serves her remaining sentence under house arrest, in the very home she killed her husband in. She is only able to travel 100 feet from her home, and for no longer than three minutes, or the police will be scrambled to her residence immediately. All is fine for the first few hours of her house arrest until she realizes that she is not alone in her home, her husband’s violent spirit is still there to attack her, and to get revenge for his death. “Till death do us part…” is not the case here. Hehe. As if matters couldn’t get any worse for her, her case handler is her husband’s old partner, who holds a personal vendetta against her for what she did to his partner. He refuses to believe that his former partner’s ghost is beating her, and see’s her as the crazy bitch he always thought she was. With no one to help her, she must figure out a way to fight her husband’s malevolent spirit, all while in the confines of the very home she killed him in.
As I mentioned earlier, I really liked this interesting and original story. Sure we have seen many flicks over the years deal with malevolent, poltergeist-type spirits, but never in the case of a battered woman who killed the person in self defense, in other words…someone who was most likely justified in doing the killing. This film offers some pretty good popup scares, and the old creepy house with an even creepier basement help’s set the mood that makes these pop up scares work. However, I really did not like the special effects we saw used for the husband’s ghost, I found them to be pretty lame and not very scary at all, other than the very first scare. This left me quite disappointed because we were shown some AMAZING effects during one of the brutal deaths at the hands of the pissed off husband on an unsuspecting house guest. This scene was BRUTAL and definitely one of the most awesome kill sequences I’ve ever seen in a horror film. This left me wondering why they copped out on the look of the husband’s ghost, when they obviously have a great special effects team at hand. Also, me being the “technical” type, I do not understand how on Earth someone who killed an attacker in self defense, would have to serve jail time. Manslaughter through self defense is excusable manslaughter, anyone with a legal mind knows that. I really did not like this aspect of the story because I felt it was a way of creating drama for the character and just hoping that the viewers of the film are stupid and not able to see past this contradiction. Maybe it was because her husband was a cop and the jury sided with him on this dilemma, but that seems quite doubtful as she had filed many criminal reports against him, which shows a pattern of character for him. I would have enjoyed this story more if she had either not been charged for his murder, or acquitted by a jury and THEN her husband’s spirit tries getting revenge on her for those reasons. Oh well, not all horror films are flawless are they?
Overall, this is a decent watch if you are into a story that has yet to be done in a horror film, or if you just enjoy thriller/ghost stories. Also this film would be a good anti-boredom technique if all that’s on television are infomercials.