Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss) is a woman living in fear. Despite living a life of wealth and privilege in a seaside home; she is ready to take drastic steps in her life.
Cecilia is trying to escape from her controlling and abusive husband who despite being considered a wealthy genius in the field of Optics; has made her life a living hell and forces her to make a daring escape that has her barely getting away with the help of her sister Alice (Harriett Dyer).
The film picks up two weeks later where Cecilia is hiding with a friend of her sister Officer James Lanier (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). Cecilia is scared to even leave the house and do simple tasks such as checking the mailbox and is livid when her sister comes to visit as she is sure that her husband will find her by tracking her Sister.
Alice informs Cecilia that her husband has killed himself and she is now free to live without fear. Cecilia gets a letter informing her that she is to receive 100K a month to the sum of five million dollars as part of her husband’s will. The fact that nobody should have her mailing address does seem odd to her as does that fact that the estate is being handled by her ex’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman).
With her new wealth Cecilia gifts James and also sets up a school fund for Sydney and begins to emerge from her shell.
It is around this time that unusual things begin to happen to her. A lost item from the night of her escape shows up and a mysterious kitchen fire starts. Cecelia also wakes up to find the covers off the bed and what appears to be something unseen standing on the blankets when she attempts to pull them up.
When she expresses her concerns to James that her husband is alive and exacting revenge, both he and Tom ignore her and when things begin to escalate, Cecilia is the one who starts to look more and more unstable as the tormenting continues and her life spins out of control.
The film is Written and Directed by Leigh Whannell who rose to prominence as one of the co-creators of the “SAW” franchise. The film is the perfect example of how to do a film of this sort as it is very clever in how it is paced and allows for the suspense to build without relying on many of the standard Horror Film staples.
The film is also good about having things happen before it pulls back so it is not an extended series of intense moments but several incidents between the tension and setup.
The cast is very good and what is amazing is that the film was made for a $7 million dollar budget yet looks every bit of a major studio film.
There are some interesting twists along the way as while I was able to predict two of them; the others were a very nice surprise.
It is so refreshing to see a film like this come along as in many ways it can help redefine the Horror genre and proves that you can make a quality movie that is also scary and intense.
I for one hope we see more from this franchise in the near future.
4.5 stars out of 5.