Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) moves his family from Boston to the woods outside a small New England town, and discovers bad things that are meant to be terrifying. Indeed, signifiers of horror abound—fog, lightning, strange children, pets behaving oddly—but there’s little fear or even any genuine ookiness to be found when it turns out that the forest near their new home harbors a preternatural secret. The unexpected deaths that haunt the family, past and present, should be disturbing and moving, but it all falls flat, and leaves us feeling nothing beyond occasional accidental amusement at its manipulative cheapness or eye-rolling tedium at the straightforward deployment of genre banalities. (Please do not reveal the secrets of the shocking Googling scene to your friends!) It’s as if, perhaps, an attempt to find a middle ground between authentic, profound dramatic tragedy and cheesy schlock gorefest settled on a completely unsatisfying middle ground, as if this were preferable to either other option. (It’s not.) More unforgivably, the movie wastes indie queen Amy Seimetz as Louis’s wife, giving her little to do but fret. “Elevated horror” this ain’t.
Director: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Steven Schneider, Mark Vahradian and Mark Moran
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Levine, Sonia Chirila, Maria Herrera and Naomi Frenette