Something sinister is going on in rural Oregon. The police find parts of a person’s body with suspicious human bite marks on a corpse that could not have been destroyed like that by a human. And in a school, the new teacher discovers that one of her students might be harboring a terrible secret.
Without spoilers, this is an effective, atmospheric, horror/thriller. I have been looking for a truly scary movie and none of the horror movies that I’ve seen lately have come close to having any effect on me, apart from boredom and annoyance. But this movie… this movie got to me. Partly because of great direction, visuals, and acting. Especially the actor who plays Lucas is superb! I hope he has a bright future ahead of him. He really is wise beyond his years, to be able to convey so much trauma and horror with such restraint. It’s very rare for a child actor.
Another reason why the movie is so effective is that it uses the horror elements to tell a larger story. In this case, the more obvious message is about how us, terrible humans, have hurt Mother Nature to the point where she is calling on her evil spirits to take revenge. And the message that had more effect on me and that is unveiled gradually throughout the movie is about the devastating effects of generational trauma. And how you might go about dealing with it in different ways – run from it, stay and try to deal with it through love or hostility, but the end result is almost never victory.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is “elevated horror” on par with Hereditary but it comes close. And that’s saying a lot.
And now for the SPOILER-FILLED Rambling portion of this Review:
This is not a movie that I particularly wanted to watch from the get-go but there’s something about this cute little kid from the opening and the fact that he’s gonna get possessed or something (I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re going) that made me wanna watch it. Plus, you know, I’m collecting whatever I can get my hands on and then we’ll see.
This Lucas boy looks like Brick Heck which makes me like him and sympathise with him even more. And I’m guessing he’s telling the story of his father and… uncle (?) that got possessed in that cave? And now that’s whom he’s hiding in the basement and killing animals for? And now Keri Russell will try and help but his father lives in the basement and is possessed so she’s not gonna be able to reach any adults. And will she take him in or something? She might… Especially if she’s following him like that, she’s feeling sorry for him. She is really nice and she means well but she will only make everything worse.
Why do people always go to scary places on their own? Like this principal. Again, well-meaning lady, for sure, but she’s gonna get herself killed and the dad will be let outside to roam free. Why can’t you at least try and really do something productive, like take a look around, realize that it’s fucked up, and call the police immediately. What are you gonna do alone up here?
I think I’ve finally found something scary! Like, I’ve been looking for a scary movie but all have been disappointing. And this… this is making me sick, physically. Which is a good sign, as far as horror movies go.
An aside question: if Lucas has no electricity or running water at home, which I’m guessing is the case, and he’s dealing with raw meat and animal carcass all the time, how does he not stink so bad that all the authorities are called on him? Given how much Americans care about hygiene, this should have been concern number one.
At least Lucas has a breathing mask so he won’t get completely poisoned by all the foulness, and he does get water in a bucket from somewhere, but come on.
Finally, the police are at the house and they have to be more decisive than this! At least they’ve finally figured out that something is wrong and they’re getting a warrant. But what good is that gonna do? The father has turned into a monster, the little brother is nowhere to be found so far, and Lucas… poor Lucas.
So this was faster than I expected. Keri went to the house again, found the principal’s car, and the police got access to the house, finally. And they found the principal’s body, and the very fucked up remains of his father. So the thing with antlers had literally burst out of the father, wow… And the little brother is nowhere to be found. Lucas is in the hospital now. And we’re getting glimpses of how the father’s condition progressed. And of course now the Native American elder is telling the police exactly what is wrong but the police don’t believe him. Yet, he is correct, we’ve seen it.
And this movie is a metaphor of how humans have angered nature with their reckless actions, and we’re all gonna pay a price for what we’ve done.
Welp… everybody’s fucked now. The Thing is at Keri’s house, the little brother is in the shed and also looks a bit possessed, and The Thing looks unkillable.
And now Keri’s brother has it… oh great. The cycle never ends. And the movie is also a metaphor for generational trauma and how, try as you might, you are almost guaranteed to lose this battle. Cause if you think you’re free from it, finally, the other person is not, and cycle continues.
What a great movie!