The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (8)
| Fresh (6)
| Rotten (2)
The Witch in the Window never gels into anything substantial; if feels less like a full-fledged horror film than a muted, bargain-bin approximation of one.
Andy Mitton's The Witch In The Window is one of the most beautifully crafted horror films to hit screens in many years. Mitton's film is a perfectly precise piece of genre cinema, filled with wonderful character moments as well as skin-crawling scares.
The Witch In The Window is a deliberately slow-paced, quietly sorrowful film about a man trying to reconnect with his family. By prioritizing character development, Mitton has crafted an emotionally rich film that...has the capacity to chill.
The Witch in the Window is unlikely to become the next big sleeper hit, but then it doesn't aspire to be - it aspires to tell a good scary story.
Straightforward with a coda so telegraphed that it loses whatever emotional epiphany it was meant to deliver, The Witch in the Window is obvious, predictable, and stilted in its worst moments.
The Witch in the Window is a valiant stab at injecting new life into an old and familiar tale.
Mitton's film never goes where you expect, while deploying its horror tropes to show the cracks and fissures in contemporary America's nuclear family structure. Its ending, so poignantly bittersweet, is very hard-earned...
Mitton's handling of the supernatural elements - casually introduced and incorporated into the edges of domestic experience - proves extremely unsettling, even as everything shifts towards a hard-earned poignancy that is both haunting and sublime.
I feel like I've already gone through this, probably more than I should have in all honesty, but I'll go through it again. My father was never there for me. A few days out of, soon-to-be, thirty-one years doesn't really count. I don't know if you could say that I'm bitter. Honestly, I'm really not, because my mom and my aunt (the two women who raised me) probably did a better job than if my dad had actually been involved. I'm not bitter, but I do not want anything to do with him or his family again. Not because of anything that was done to me, more something they did to my mother that I will never forgive or forget, no matter what happens. I've even said this that, as selfish as this may be, if my father ever wanted to clear the air, I would not do it. No matter what. Regardless, that's neither here nor there, I suppose. In some ways, I do wonder what it is like for kids like Finn in this movie, where the father comes and goes and if somehow that is actually worse than, say, kids like me, whose fathers are completely absent. I wonder if there's that constant hope, for the kids in this situation, of finally their dad is staying with them for good, before that hope is forcefully taken away from them when the father finally ends up leaving. That seems like so much worse, honestly. It shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all the parents, if the kid involved in a situation like this ends up having some sort of behavioral problems. And that's what brings us to this movie, as Finn, a product of this type of home, where the father comes and goes, is sent off with Vermont with his father to help fix up this house that Simon, theoretically, hopes to sell. Finn is sent with his father after, apparently, using the internet to watch some a violent video of this guy being decapitated. Anyway, long story short, the house Simon bought is, apparently, haunted by this old woman that died in it however many years back. Here's the thing about this movie and that is the fact that if you're looking for a thrilling haunted house film like, say, The Conjuring, you're barking up the wrong tree. This is much more of a slow burn, exploring the relationship between Simon and his son. The core of the movie is that relationship and, given that, the film spends a lot of time with Simon and Finn just being a father and son, them interacting with each other and getting to understand each other better. In that regard, the movie is excellent, because the interactions between the two don't feel forced or unnatural. I'm not saying it's realistic, but this portrayal of a relationship between a father and son is much more effective than many movies I've ever seen. On the other hand, however, the horror doesn't really do much for me. It's not like there's really that much to begin with, but what is there feels one-dimensional. Andy Mitton also wrote and directed We Go On, which was also a character-driven horror movie. But I do think that the horror in We Go On felt far more pertinent to the narrative in the movie. It was a story that dealt with coming to terms with our own mortality, so the lead character being able to see the ghost of this dead man that tethered itself to him made perfect sense. Here, however, the haunted house doesn't feel as important to the story, just something that Andy Mitton threw in there because he thought the father/son angle might make things a bit boring. And I can get that. While I do think that the relationship between Simon and Finn is the best part of the movie, it's also not entirely exciting. They're just fixing up a house and talking about stuff, there's no real sense of urgency for the most part. The haunted house angle gives them that. It gives everything that Simon and Finn are doing purpose, but it's not great and, while the idea of the ending is a good one, I don't think it's as emotionally satisfying as the movie thinks it probably should be. And this is a shame, because I like a lot of this film's ideas and, like I said, I love the interactions between Simon and Finn. Alex Draper is good as Simon and Charles Tackett holds his own as Finn. It's just that I don't think the horror and the more character-driven stuff is as skillfully handled as it was in We Go On, a superior movie (in my mind). And that's ok, I honestly don't have a problem with people who liked this movie more than I did as, currently, this has a 3.2 (out of 5) average on Letterboxd. Like I said, I can see how people might like this more than I did. There's a lot to like here. But, in my estimation, what I liked about the movie didn't really carry over into making this a good movie. I got a lot of positive to say about this movie but, when you put all the pieces together, it still falls slightly short of being good. That's odd for me, but that's just the way it is. I'd say it's even solid, but no way would I say that this is good. I only really do feel comfortable giving this an average score. Horror feels tacked on, the ending falls flat and the relationship between father and son, while the best part of the movie, also does not make for enthralling entertainment. I wouldn't recommend it, but it's obvious that more people than not have gotten more out of this than I did. So, if this seems like your cup of tea, then go ahead. Don't let my opinion dissuade you from that in the slightest.
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