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Quite frankly I can't understand how anyone who loves the horror genre isn't able to love and appreciate this movie as well!

This is some great, old school, horror that uses all of the classic genre ingredients and uses them well. Sure, since it uses all of the familiar genre ingredients the movie itself is far from original or anything groundbreaking but truth remains that everything in the movie is handled well and executed almost to perfection.

You can tell when someone is making a horror movie for the paycheck and when someone is making a horror out of love for the genre. James Wan is definitely a director with a true love and understanding of the horror genre. He has showed this in the past, with the first "Saw" movie and continued to proof it after the success of the "Saw" franchise and this movie, with the 2013 hit movie "The Conjuring". I have to say that Wan is my favorite modern horror director at the moment, since again, he seems to have a real love for- and understanding of the genre. He knows what creeps audiences out and what is needed to turn his horror movies into both compelling and effective ones when it comes down to its story, characters and horror.

A creepy picture, an eerie drawing, something standing in the corner. Really, it often are the small and simple things like this that make horror movies such as this one creepy ones to watch. No need to exaggerate and constantly try to scare your audience with countless of jump scares, every other moment. It more often than not turns your horror movie into a totally ineffective one, since things are too forced and feel too calculated and predictable. This movie, even though it mostly is being a very formulaic one, manages to feature some truly effective horror moments in it, with its imagery and haunting atmosphere and it even has a few nice surprises in it too.

Sure, in a lot of ways this movie is actually being a lot like "Poltergeist" but I have to say, "Poltergeist" is probably my favorite horror movie that's out there (note; favorite is different from best) and it in no way ever distracted or bothered and annoyed me that this movie was pretty much following the same formula. I pretty much saw it as a slightly altered and more modernized version of "Poltergeist" and it's probably true as well that this movie is a far better one than the official "Poltergeist" remake is going to be. But saying that this movie is a lot like "Poltergeist" and is mostly being a formulaic one doesn't mean that the movie doesn't have some original and very surprising moments in it as well. The movie is very solid one on its own right and holds up well against other genre classics.

And just to praise Wan some more; He also is one of the only horror directors that successfully knows to combine horror and CG effects. In a lot of ways he's a person who successfully knows to blend in old school horror with the new, more slick and faster paced horror style of this present day. The CG effects in this movie successfully enhance the horror and overall eeriness of the movie, without ever working out as anything distracting from the movie. What I also love about Wan's movies is that he makes them with virtually no budget (doubt this is also going to be the case for his "Fast & Furious 7" though) but they actually still manage to look and feel a whole lot better than most multi-million dollar horror productions. I don't understand anyway why you ever should spend something like 20+ million dollar on something as 'simple' and basic as a horror movie. A low budget besides often 'forces' the film-makers to become more creative, which often has resulted in some very effective and classic genre movies.

Really, as a horror lover I have to say that this is one of the best and certainly also most enjoyable horror movies of the past few years!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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