Well if you are only as good as your last film, then it's a little sad for Brittany Murphy's to have been this one. Don't get me wrong, Murphy as always put in a good performance, but the film itself was excrutiatingly slow at times and found myself getting lost through boredom. It is a very cliche ghost film and whilst the ending is supposed to be left as some kind of twist, it fell a bit flat and left you wondering whether you got the ending right or not!
DIRECTED BY: Sean McConville
I really feel bad because this being Brittany's last film I really wanted to like it. But unfortunately it failed to impress me. It's a haunted house story that has all the cliches'. Creepy footsteps, shadows on the walls, phone calls with heavy breathing, and the ghost of course. Thora Birch was great in her role, but even she couldn't hold this film on her own. I also thought Marc Blucas was good as well. Brittany had her moments in this film, but I have seen better acting from her. But it's not like they gave her a great script to work with. It's the story's plot and some of Ms. Murphy's acting that turns this movie into a bundle of nonsense. The ending didn't really make any sense, but neither does the film in it's entire self. Nor do you get any explanation for what the hell it is all about. Was Alice crazy and have some kind of mental problems? She was taking pills, what were they for? Was she writing about what happened between her and Ben? I mean nothing made any sense. I don't think Brittany is to blame for what crap this movie is. I totally blame it on the script and the directing. It's unfortunate that this will be known as her last work. She's so much better then this movie.
It is poorly paced, as the first 45 minutes or so are painfully slow. In fact, I remember literally falling asleep a couple times, then waking up a few minutes later to find I had missed absolutely nothing. There must be 10 scenes of Murphy wandering around in a dark hallway, each time revealing nothing.
Then, it suddenly goes nuts, and starts cramming things at a ridiculous rate. Things happen far too quickly to be properly explored, digested or make any sense of, where as if director McConville had any sense of timing, these things could have been played out much more effectively.
If there were a legal limit of 'creaking floorboard/door sounds' or 'ominous minimalistic background piano', this movie exceeds that limit tenfold. The acting here is also pretty horrible. I feel bad saying this being that this was Murphy's last movie, but her acting here is really quite bad. The worst performance of the film however belongs to Blanchard, who is basically a 2x4. Even the usually good Thora Birch falls flat. The script of course is the real failure, because no actor no matter how talented they are could elevate this schlock writing to greatness.
It gets 2 stars because it does manage to do a few interesting things. The expansion of the taped scenes on the camera to 1st person perspective is interesting, and it does create a few scenes with genuine tension. Of course, these scenes are rushed and choppy due to the poor pacing of the first 2/3's of the movie. The climax is unfulfilling, unoriginal and boring. When all is said and done, you're left with a thoroughly bad movie even if it does have a few positives.
"You look like an angel, when you sleep."-Alice (Brittany Murphy)