"La Di Da Di, We likes to party, we don't cause no trouble, we don't bother nobody"
Sometime in the past, the owner of a large
mansion summons his housekeeper
to the basement where he kills her and removes her teeth with a hammer and
chisel. The man offers the teeth to some unseen creatures inside a fireplace
and asks for the return of his son. He doesn’t get his wish. Fast forward to
the present day and a man (Guy Pearce) and woman (Katie Holmes) move into the
mansion along with Pearce’s estranged and reclusive daughter (Bailee Madison). Sally,
depressed at being separated from her mother discovers the now hidden basement
(which was somehow missed by surveyors, estate agents and owners but discovered
by an eight year old) and awakens whatever lies inside the old fireplace. Once
the creatures are out they want one thing; to take someone back down with them. Rhode Island
Considering this is a horror film it's less scary than when Nemo’s dad loses his son. The slow and tedious opening lasts for half an hour, during which time there is no atmosphere and little tension. One of the reasons that The Woman in Black was so successful is that it created atmosphere and suspense. Here there is none. We just get panning shots of what feels like quite a nice and not at all creepy house.
Even when the action heats up there are no scares. I get scared by most horror films, even really bad ones but this didn’t even give me the slightest shiver. There’s nothing. The story is dull and predictable, there’s no humour to substitute for the lack of scares, there’s just an hour and a half of three people in a house and the odd little rat thing. The characters, their actions and dialogue all feel forced and wrong. The script in general is as flat as a badger on a motorway.
I found Sally, played by Bailee Madison excruciating and wished the pixies or whatever did get her. She was the kind of annoying brat that you want to slap but I don’t know how much of this is down to the character or the acting. Either way I hope the young actress finds some better roles soon as so far her two biggest roles have been this and Just Go With It. Katie Holmes is completely unconvincing and wooden while Guy Pearce looks like he’s just collecting a Cheque.
This film was so dull that every time someone said Sally I started singing Slick Rick’s La Di Da Di (which has a lyric about Sally in it) in my head. That was much more fun that concentrating on the film.
Something else that bugged me was that when Sally was trying to tell people about the creatures, the adults got a doctor in who suggested she had an overactive imagination and put her on pills! An eight year old!! Even if she was making it all up, she’s eight! Why give her medication? It’s ridiculous.
The one good thing about this film was the creature design. While they weren’t scary, they did look quite realistic and interesting. But that’s it. The rest of the film is terrible. Considering my girlfriend’s last two choices for our DVD service LoveFilm were this and Red Riding Hood she has been banned from adding any more films to the list for a month as punishment.