My favourite thing about when James Wan and Leigh Whannell create a horror film is they rarely, if ever go for a jump scare, it is mostly psychological horror or very atmospheric which is what a horror film should be, making me feel majorly creeped out is a much better achievement than making me jump with a loud noise and flashing something on screen as that is what most horrors have resolved to. It also doesn’t help that an audience member would say that it was a terrifying film because it made them jump, I can walk up behind someone and shout “BOO!” in their ears and guarantee you that they jump, they aren’t going to be too scared to turn around, they would turn around and say “What was that for you cunt?”.
The atmosphere of this film is fantastic, it has a thoroughly creepy vibe throughout and I can imagine if you were afraid of dummies or dolls then the creepy factor would sky rocket, however I am not afraid of dolls or dummies yet the film still had me creeped out through most of it. There are some lulls in the film story wise, mainly in the second part where it becomes less of a horror film and more of a mystery/thriller type film, which when executed successfully wouldn’t be a problem, in this film however, it isn’t executed as well as it could have been and it just seemed to grind the film and the story to a halt.
The acting was pretty bland, for a horror film to work you usually have to have a charismatic lead either in a “He’s such a nice guy” or “He’s a prick but he’s cool”, something to engage audiences. Ryan Kwanten had no charisma at all and while it isn’t really a problem in most of the scenes involving the dummies, when it is just Kwanten and Wahlberg on screen, it definitely gets tempting to let your mind wander, combine that with bland dialogue and a weak script, especially in the second act just doesn’t hold your focus like it should.
The third act is great though, it’s the culmination of a pretty good opening and a bland second act but the third act is a great payoff for an audience for being so patient with the film. The creepiness factor is cranked up, the story suddenly becomes very interesting and the effects really get to shine. Also, I never predicted the twist which is a rarity in films nowadays, especially horror films, not only did I not predict the twist, it surprised me and was pulled off excellently.
The score was very reminiscent of ‘The X-Files’ theme, which I am unsure if it was supposed to be an homage or just a coincidence, it did feel a little jarring at first and slightly distracting, however as the film progressed the theme seemed to become more suitable throughout.