After her husband dies in a car accident that leaves her stepson paralyzed, Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) is left alone to care for him in their rural New England home. She maintains a child psychology practice from her home where she works with a young deaf boy. After the boy disappears one night and into the harsh weather, Mary is haunted by what she believes is his ghost.
Caring for her teenage son Steven (Stranger Things‘ Charlie Heaton) is proving to be difficult for Mary, as she struggles with balancing his needs and those of her patients. She takes a strong liking to a deaf foster child named Tom (Jacob Tremblay). When Tom shows up at her home in the middle of the night, freezing and alone, Mary offers to take care of him. However, within the time of her being on the phone, Tom has disappeared. After the town believes the boy to be dead, given the frigid temperatures, Mary starts to feel haunted by the boy she couldn’t save.
The film itself follows a fairly standard pattern for thrillers, but has a few high tension moments as well as a couple good jump scares. One thing that’s apparent for this film, is that there is a pacing problem. Some moments run so slowly that it leaves the viewer feeling bored. After quite a surprisingly pleasant twist, the film trips over itself with such a drawn out sequence where you’re just waiting for it to get to the point. For every moment that has a glimmer of hope, there are several eye-roll worthy scenes directly after.
There are plenty of things in this film that make no sense from a filmmaking view. Without providing spoilers, I’ll just say several scenes were set up improperly, goofs were easy to spot, and some ADR was painfully obvious. The ending is also oddly confusing as it tries to be ominous with zero purpose.
I’d say leave this to a film you pick on a night you want to stay in, and possibly fall asleep to.
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