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Main thing that this movie has going for it is the fact that it's being original. Not just original with its horror but more so with its approach and storytelling as well. I believe that is also why people are split on this movie; some people love the movie for it, while others were probably wanting and expecting a more conventional horror movie.

I for one did appreciated and liked the movie for being somewhat different. Yes, it's yet again a horror movie that features a found footage type of plot line but it yet manages to come across as something fresh and original. I believe the foremost reason for this is that the movie, despite that it plays an important part for the story, is not all about its found footage. The movie focuses more on the story surrounding the footage and the home investigation conducted by the Ethan Hawke character. But really Ethan, why didn't you ever turn on the lights? No wonder you got startled all the time. Everything is scarier when its completely dark. It's not a complaint really, or something that distracted me too much from the movie. Just a funny thing I noticed throughout the entire movie and perhaps the only 'cheap' and formulaic thing about the movie its horror.

The movie other than that has a good atmosphere to it, which gets build up well by the movie its pace, storytelling, writing and cinematography. It besides is not the sort of movie that constantly tries to scare you by keep throwing things at you or by being all in your face with any blood or gore all the time. It's a more subtle movie really, which actually adds to the overall realism of it all as well, which in return also helps to make the movie its horror more effective.

And you have to remember this is not a big studio movie, so it definitely feels less polished but this at the same time also means it avoids most of the clichéd moments and characters you normally are accustomed to seeing in these type of movies. The fact that it's less polished and not as clichéd all add to it that this is a more 'real' looking and feeling movie and I do think this also helps the story tremendously. I think it's fair to say that in the hands of a big studio this would had been a far lesser movie!

Another example as to why this feels like a more honest and fresh type of movie is actually non-horror related. It's the family dynamic of the movie. What I especially liked about it is that the kids aren't used in a cheap fashion to explain certain plot lines or create cheap horror and scares with. They are simply part of the family and at least do sound and act like normal kids, which is not something that could be said for 90% of all movies out there. And when the husband and wife have an argument in this movie, they have a real argument. The dialog also plays a big and important role in all of this, so big kudos to the writing team, Scott Derrickson (who also directed) and C. Robert Cargill.

The movie further more does a good job at keeping things in the dark for as long as possible. No, I don't mean in the dark because Ethan Hawke constantly refuses to turn any of the lights on but because it keeps things a mystery for most of the time. Most of the time you really aren't sure what direction the movie and its story are heading at. The one moment it's being more of a thriller while at others it's clear it's being more of a horror. But still you are never sure what the movie is going to be at the end and don't worry, I'm not going to spoil that for you.

Just find out for yourself, fore it's definitely a genre movie that is worth checking out, especially when you believe that there is no way genre movies can feel fresh and original anymore.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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