We are humans. We tend to do a lot of bad things as humans based on the ethical standards we’ve generally set as a society. As often as we do bad things, we think about doing bad things a lot more often. Of course, most people dismiss the impulse and move along their day trying to do the best they can. Those impulses though, can be the most terrifying things in the world. I’ve had them. It’s strange to think of walking through the world and realizing that people around you are having thoughts of their own. Some of those thoughts are angry, dark and even violent. When you’re thinking of punching the sexist guy on the bus in the nose, somebody else really hates your t-shirt and would love to drag you into a back alley. Our thoughts aren’t always that intense but dark little thoughts flit through our brains all the time and we can’t stop them.
Danielle Radcliffe has become much beloved by the American people (and I can only imagine his fame is pretty equivalent internationally). As he grew into the role of Harry Potter, I grew to respect his craft more even though he almost grew out of the role in the end. His interviews with the press are excellent as he rails against sexism and derails them with horrible puns. He’s made one of the most successful transitions between child actor and adult actor. He seems to choose roles that are challenging rather than taking the easy and potentially more lucrative route. This movie is no different and he’s excellent in it, even rocking an American accent.
The plot in the movie comes in the aftermath of a tragic death that has rocked a whole community. Everybody is suffering and hurting and the press is crawling all over it like ants. That’s a terrible situation to be thrown into even without supernatural elements. Young, unexpected death brings our lives to a screeching, uncomfortable stop even if we’re tangentially connected. It’s a gateway to introspection and apparently it’s a gateway to other strange things in this movie. Radcliffe plays a character who can suddenly bring out the worst thoughts of people around him and worse yet they ask his permission to act on them. That’s too much for one man to bear and the concept deeply unnerved me.
I’m going to cop to something here. This movie isn’t really that frightening or scary for most of its running time. It’s more of a supernatural mystery/thriller than a horror movie. Though, it definitely hits a lot of the points that makes it feel like Halloween. Invoking the devil, death, comedy and the darkness in people’s hearts coming out are definitely in full effect. The supernatural stuff is a slow burn so don’t be disappointed, just wait. I guess I should also warn you that there’s a lot of sex talk and a lot of nudity and sexual situations in the movie as well. I can’t warn you about that enough.
The movie gets stranger as it progresses and at some point I had no clue where it was going. The movie got dark, really dark. Uncomfortably dark. The acting was so, so good from everybody. The music added a whole dark, almost sad element to it that really helped the mood. The direction and visuals were obviously very carefully crafted. I won’t spoil the mystery but it works so well. I definitely recommend this movie but it’s not for the squeamish. If you can stomach quite a bit of sex and violence, you will be rewarded.