Director: Kyle Edward Bell
Writer: Kyle Edward Bell
Starring: Jaime Hill, Lucas Paul and Ross Paul
This is a movie that caught my attention when the trailer was playing while I was at the Gateway Film Center. I don’t normally watch them. There were things I heard when this is playing that drew my attention. When I saw that this was playing, I made it a point to check it out as I figured this wouldn’t be showing long. This is one that I came in as blind as I could. I’ve also now given it a second watch to see how I stood with it.
Synopsis: two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished.
Now I’ll be honest, I didn’t necessarily know that is what happens here. We start this off with Kevin (Lucas Paul) talking to his father, played by Ross Paul. Everyone is put to bed. Kevin and his younger sister, Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault), both get up. They go to a playroom that has a television and put on old cartoons.
I did see that through different shots, doors and windows would disappear. There also seems to be an entity that is talking to these children, telling them what to do. If they disobey, it becomes even scarier. I should also point out that this takes place back in 1995. Kevin tries to figure out where his father and mother are, as well as what happens to his younger sister.
That is where I’ll leave fleshing out the synopsis a bit more and introducing to the characters that we hear. Where I should start is that this is avant-garde. The director did interesting things with the camerawork. The angles are of things that are high up or down low. Things are out of focus. We don’t get the traditional seeing our characters and framing them. This is partially why it is a hard movie to talk about. It is more of an experience. This takes place late at night and is difficult to see. It also feels like they’re filming this on a video camera so it is snowy as well as a bit distorted. This all adds to this odd atmosphere the movie has. It does make you think you might see something in the darkness even if there isn’t.
Already this is a polarizing movie as well. What makes this work for me is a bit of nostalgia. It took me back to my sister and I staying up late watching old cartoons. My dad recorded a couple of VHS tapes with them. They were always ones from before either of us were born. I’m not entirely sure how or where they were recorded from. Regardless, we would watch them over and over as we stayed up as late as could. This brings in that irrational fear of something evil being in the dark which is what I was scared of at that age.
Another part that I brought up doesn’t happen until late in the movie. The doors and windows disappearing early on. The kids from there just have snacks and watch television. It is as the night goes on that there seems to be a sinister entity around them. There is a dark scary voice. Kevin seems to end up isolated as well. It is a scary idea to be up by yourself. Being afraid and not being able to find your parents. Now I acknowledge, I projected these ideas on to the movie. It is something that I connected with so I can see why others who don’t have this connection wouldn’t like it.
There is something else that I’m adding after a second watch. I need to give the crew over on Kill the Cast Podcast credit. Jerry brought up something interesting. This could be a case of child abuse. Kevin might have been hurt by his father. He also might have fallen down the stairs and is in a coma. Later into this, we get the text ‘Day 572’. This dark entity could be in his head as he tries to regain consciousness. That makes this even more terrifying to me and helps explain things better as well. The disappearing doors and windows, trapping him in his own mind.
Since we don’t ever see our characters, it is hard to give praise to the acting. The voices of everyone is good so I’ll give credit to Jaime Hill as the mom. Lucas Paul and Ross Paul as Kevin and dad respectively. Tetreault has a cute voice as the younger Kaylee as well. It was adorable.
The only other things are with the filmmaking. The cinematography is interesting with what they do. I’ll give credit to this. It does make it hard to give a normal narrative though. There aren’t much in the way of effects but what we do seems to be done in camera. I did enjoy that. The soundtrack works for giving us diegetic. It is coming from the world of the movie mostly. There is the sound of static which is unnerving. We also get the deep, scary voice of the entity. This worked for me.
In conclusion, this is a hard movie to talk about. We don’t get a normal narrative. This is quite experimental. I liked it to an extent. It is uncomfortable. I also had hard time following things as well. This concept of Kevin being in a coma helped me to enjoy this more and seems to explain things for me. This is more of a movie that you need to experience. It would actually make an interesting double feature with something like Mad God. I can’t recommend this to everyone though. The arthouse crowd might get something from this. I would say to give it a chance though, especially if you’re intrigued.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10