Atoning, The (2017)

Starring Virginia Newcomb, Cannon Bosarge, Michael LaCour

Directed by Michael Williams

There are a few things that I can check off of my internal list of “what not to have happen in a horror film,” and those checked boxes usually result in a turd of a review score. Now while I’m no one special and I expect NO ONE to take my laptop babbling as gospel, I can without a doubt say that The Atoning is one of those films that managed to vividly fill in every damn check-box in my brain – so let’s commence with the turd-skewering.

Vera (Newcomb) and her husband Ray (LaCour) have a bit of a tempestuous relationship, and it’s a bit deeper to dissect the troubles that the two have, and with the inclusion of a child (Bosarge) into the family dynamic. They live in a home that gives every conceivable clue that it could be haunted – so we’ve got what could potentially labeled a haunted house flick, and we’ve also got the possibility that the rift between the couple could be a much deeper mystery than one might fathom – so there’s a thriller-element to consider as well. The problem here is that this movie doesn’t really know which element to stick to, and it can get a bit exhausting at times, but it does have its moments that can register a scare or two. The house itself begins to grow as its own entity, and the force in which it exudes traps the small family inside of it, unable to exit and contend with the horrors inside.

What hold this particular feature down from really stretching its wings is the labored tempo and insanely stagnant scenes – the thought of staring at this little family as they stare at each other while holed up in their large house, which in essence is giving them the evil eye, just isn’t a promising thought to entertain. In addition, the acting isn’t exactly up to snuff which severely detracts from a presentation that honestly struggled to get out of the starting blocks. I tried, I really tried with this one, but in the end it simply came off like a horror film with a severe identity crisis – do yourselves a huge favor and bypass this one, as I don’t think the lines at the Redbox machines will be too long for potential rentals.

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Matt Boiselle

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