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Here we have yet another haunted house flick. Only difference is that it's a Dutch one but other than that, it has no real creativity or originality to offer, despite the fact that the story still showed plenty of potential.

On the one hand I'm somewhat surprised this movie didn't do better at the box office and isn't more well known but on the other hand, it doesn't surprise me at all. Aside from its quality or originality, Dutch horror movies have never fared too well with the average moviegoer. For some reason everyone immediately assumes the movie is going to be bad, while in all truth and honesty this movie really isn't any worse or less effective than, lets say, the average Hollywood horror production. Yet, all those very same Hollywood horror productions continue to do well at the Dutch box offices, which is a bit of a sad conclusion. Hard to say what is needed to change this trend, since there already are plenty of pretty good and effective Dutch horror productions, of which this isn't really one of, by the way.

I wish I could praise this movie more, since it actually looks and feels like a very slick, well made, horror production, with the right kind of tone and atmosphere to it. Besides, it features a pretty promising and interesting horror story but it unfortunately isn't always handling its story too well.

This movie makes a couple of pretty big mistakes. One is that it pretty much tells the whole story from a young girls perspective (though it also, ineffectively and very randomly, keeps switching between its other main characters, from time to time), played by Isabelle Stokkel. Now, generally speaking young children just aren't the greatest actors around. Sure, they often effectively deliver their lines but when it comes down to showing and handling emotions, such as fear, their performances, more often than not, fall short. It can actually totally ruin a movie its atmosphere and horror, as sometimes also is the case for this movie. Not saying that Isabelle Stokkel is a bad actress, she was pretty good actually, as were all of the the other actors but it seems to me she is better off playing roles in non-horror films.

Another mistake the movie makes is that is shows its 'ghost' too early on in the movie already. And not only just that, she becomes a pretty prominent character in the movie as well. It really is taking away a lot from the movie its tension and other horror aspects. The movie starts off as a pretty mysterious and subtle one but this all soon gets abandoned once its ghost reveals itself for the first time. Really disappointing, especially once the movie starts to show more and more inconsistencies and other weaknesses with its story. It actually turns into a pretty lazy and formulaic genre movie after a while, with only a few effective scare moments but no real surprises, throughout.

Also somewhat annoying how by the end the movie truly seems to think that it wrapped everything up perfectly and leaves nothing open to debate but in fact the ending leaves far more question than answers and quite frankly, a whole lot of things just don't make any sense anymore, by the end of it. Perhaps it was trying to cram in too many surprises and twists and started to lose its plot, somewhere around its third act.

But really, despite all that criticism, I still don't feel this movie is any worse than the average Hollywood attempt. As a matter of fact, Hollywood has already shown interest in doing a remake, with Scott Derrickson as a director and Charlize Theron set to star. Seems like a pretty silly and pointless thing to do, since this movie really isn't anything that's more special, original or effective than the average and generic Hollywood genre script that's already floating somewhere out there. Guess it could work out, with a few story improvements here and there but I doubt it's going to turn into something that we have never seen before, or something that's genuinely scary to watch.

Also the look of the movie- and the way its buildup, is all typical Hollywood-like. Normally this isn't really a positive thing to note about an European movie but in this case it does in fact works out well for the movie. Its slick look, with its fine cinematography and good editing, gives the movie a real pleasant and professional look and feeling to it, despite the fact that this was only director's Elbert van Strien first full length movie.

It's not the worst genre movie you can run into but the flaws and inconsistencies within its story- and with its storytelling still makes this an ultimately disappointing- and for most part ineffective, horror attempt.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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