A film which centres on its two fallen stars – actress Rose McGowan, and Director Victor Salva – who have both had significant hits in their careers, but now seem to be treading water. McGowan can be a great actress, and Silva is known to be quite handy with a horror story – with a very decent surrounding cast and an interesting premise, could this be a pleasant surprise?
Well, not really. The plot is scattered, that decent cast featuring Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, and Bill Faberbache are underused, some characters come and go with little explanation, and the motives for the main players are rarely clear. McGowan plays a radio host therapist, whose own dark past presumably helps her speak to listeners in an understanding way. When her father dies, she moves back to the house she grew up, and was abused in. There are whispers of what her father did, there are shows of emotion and she wants revenge, not against her father but against the person she believes killed him – it’s all very confused. Her boyfriend is really her ex, he’s a cop or a DA or something, and he may or may not think that she’s a little unhinged after her father dies.
Sonny (McGowan) moves in to her childhood home and her creepy neighbour tells her about the creepy paperboy. True enough, the paperboy is creepy, creeping to her door and asking if she wants a deliver, and sneaking away. Things happen, viewers yawn, and Sonny thinks the boy is both stalking her and murdered her dad. Half the police force of the US appear to be investigating her every whim, no-one believes her, but the boy keeps up his threats, sneaking into houses and calling her radio show to give veiled clues and creepy hints. More things happen, the boy makes a final attack, and the movie ends, naturally with an ambiguous conclusion.
I wish I could like this film, but it’s like some writer sketched a few ideas, someone else saw him writing those ideas and tried to recall everything by stealing a glance over his shoulder, then that someone else wrote a script which was rewritten on a daily basis once filming started. The premise has of course been done to death before, but home invasion and paranoia never gets old if its done well. Here we have some shadowy, unthreatening child who could be a demon/ghost/satanic triplet/Obama/other who decides to annoy McGowan for unexplained reasons. I don’t mind unexplained – in fact, I like being challenged and being faced with ambiguity and open questions, however this just smacks of the writers and director having no clue what they are trying to do. Wise does a good job, and I honestly have no idea if McGowan was good, average, or terrible because her face is like a PSA against botox. Honestly, looking at her was the most horrifying thing of the film, and I’m not saying that to shame or be sarcastic, but it’s genuinely saddening and scary that so many people at such a young age are going down this route – and it almost never goes well. Anyway, if you don’t like boys on bicycles, you may or may not get a kick out of this.
Let us know in the comments if you have seen this and what you thought of it!