Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Elisabeth Moss, Jason Lewis, Tom Malloy, John Savage, Catherine Mary Stewart
Directed by Mary Lambert
Distributed by Allumination Film Works
Mary Lambert came out of seemingly nowhere with the excellent Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary back in 1989. She followed it up with Pet Sematary II and horror fans started to get worried. By the time she found her way behind the camera for Urban Legends 3: Bloody Mary, I think she was just too far gone.
When The Attic was announced it was pretty exciting news; Lambert would finally be making something independently again, even if the plot sounded a bit on the overdone side. I guess we shouldn’t have gotten too thrilled about the idea, however, because it’s clear Ms. Lambert isn’t being picky about her projects.
The Attic starts off with a scene straight out of every generic ghost/slasher movie ever made: a beautiful girl, taking a nice long bath, hears a strange sound and realizes she’s not alone. A few very fast and sloppy edits later and she’s been attacked by someone that looks exactly like her out in the woods and dies.
Jump to 30 years later (a time frame that’s not made clear until the film’s final few minutes), and a family is moving into the same house as the bathing beauty. Daughter Emma (Moss) is clearly not happy with her inattentive mother and borderline abusive father, but she’s all smiles when her slightly retarded brother (Malloy, who also wrote and produced) comes home after living on his own for a year. He’s obviously the only one she gets along with in her family, but this doesn’t stop her from sinking into an ever-deepening depression, refusing to go outside or eat for reasons she can’t seem to convey to anyone.
It doesn’t help that she keeps seeing a girl who looks exactly like her out of the corner of her eye, nor that the titular attic has alternating levels of creepiness, from “old-fashioned abandoned room” creepy to “archaic symbols all over the walls” creepy. Eventually her family brings in a psychiatrist to try and help her, but of course she just can’t get through her angst and refuses to believe that a girl she believes to be her long-dead twin, back from the dead for some sisterly revenge, is haunting her.
How could it possibly play out? In the most predicable manner you can imagine. There’s nothing spooky, foreboding, or even slightly off-putting about The Attic; it’s just another ho-hum piece of DTV horror that you’ve see a thousand times before. Adding to its overall forgetability is that fact that it was shot on DV for some godawful reason, giving the movie an overall cheap, super bland feel that should not be the calling card of the woman who made Pet Sematary.
About the only thing the film has going for it is the acting. Across the board the performances are solid; you can tell Moss really tried to play the subdued crazy card as well as she could, I just fear she didn’t have much to work with here. If there was only more of an interesting story going on to utilize their acting skills, this might be worth a watch.
Hell, there’s not even a single extra on the DVD, something almost unheard of these days. One has to wonder if perhaps those involved didn’t want to have anything to do with the final product and chose not to participate in commentaries, behind the scenes featurettes, etc. That’s about the only reason, save for a slim budget on the distributor’s side, to release a bare bones DVD these days.
The Attic is not the Mary Lambert comeback fans, myself included, were likely hoping for. Instead it’s just another predictable psychological horror movie posing as a ghost story and very much not worth your time.
1 out of 5
0 out of 5
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