At the end of a drunken night out, Alex and Jess decide it would be fun to pay a visit to a backstreet fortune teller. However, everyone knows that pretty young things shouldn’t dabble in forces they don’t understand, and soon enough Alex is experiencing blackouts, sleepwalking, has unexplained injuries and the general feeling that she’s starting to go crazy. Is it all in her head or are there larger, more dangerous forces at work? More importantly, will you actually care?
Think The Exorcist. Then think Demon Seed. Then think of those two seminal horror films combined into one. Now think of the level of utter incompetence required for such a concept to be mangled into a complete non-plot and a risible collection of worn out tropes that will have you rolling your eyes every single time one of them is wheeled out. It’s like director Greg A Sager has skimmed The Big Book of Horror Clichés, added items from the Demonic Possession subsection, but missed the chapter explaining precisely why you should avoid all this stuff like bubonic plague. The film doesn’t even have the decency to pretend to be Based On A True Story.
There’s the mysterious figure in the middle distance who disappears upon a second glance; gyrating shapes in the mirror behind our nominal heroine; a creepy little girl spouting prophetic, cryptic and ultimately meaningless pronouncements; gratuitous shower scenes; pseudo-orgasmic sleep moaning; and the ever-popular back-away-and-slowly-turn-around-only-for-someone-to-be-standing-right-there. Oh, and the fact that Alex is a virgin is of great significance. Y’know, because a woman remains completely pure and innocent until she’s felt the corrupting touch of a penis. Or something. See that scene in Chasing Amy for more discussion on how meaningless such a status is.
Sager seems to be aware of the things that generally happen in horror films, but doesn’t appear to actually understand them, so randomly placed and often insignificant are they in their occurrence. The progression of the film is so disjointed that fade outs are frequently used as he doesn’t know how to properly end a scene. There aren’t even any deaths spaced out to relieve the monotony. Perhaps aware of his own lack of skill, he seems keen to establish that the girls’ entire wardrobe consists of vest tops, tight shorts and skimpy nightgowns, in the hope of distracting you from the complete and utter absence of anything resembling a plot. There might have even been some implied lesbianism thrown in as well, but it was handled so ineptly you really can’t be sure.
While Michelle Argyris might be nice to look at, so is a sunset; doesn’t mean it can hold your attention without anything to augment it. She’s not helped by a dire script that has characters use idioms in lieu of genuine characterisation, and really not helped by having an even smaller range of distinct facial expressions than Kristen Stewart.
The most frustrating thing about the film (and, oddly, its one consistency) is that all the characters seem to be suffering from what should be termed X-Files Syndrome: an incurable and often terminal inability to use light switches.
What a film like this needs around the halfway point is the appearance of sexy priest with dishevelled hair and permastubble, excommunicated for his insistence in perpetuating archaic doctrine regarding demons, who will explain what the hell’s going on and rid the pretty protagonist of her affliction, possibly dying valiantly in the process. What it gets is a bunch of generic characters blundering though scene after scene of inconsequential happenings until things eventually stumble to an inadequate conclusion.
Overall Verdict: A patchwork assortment of ideas ripped from infinitely superior films stitched together with bad acting, worse dialogue and characters barely worthy of referral to as such.
Reviewer: Andrew Marshall