Rating: 3 / 5
By now, everyone knows Jennifer Lawrence from The Hunger Games. I think she's a beautiful girl, and I like how she always seems so natural in her acting. Still, I'm not so sure about her yet. I've become familiar with Max Thieriot from Bates Motel, and he's gorgeous as always; plus, he's a pretty good actor as well. In Bates Motel, he plays Norman's slightly less insane older brother, Dylan. Here, though, things are a bit different.
Synopsis from IMDB: A mother and daughter move to a new town and find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. When the daughter befriends the surviving son, she learns the story is far from over.
What's sad is that the synopsis tells you the entire movie, pretty much. There are some things thrown in for shock value, but even though you might not be expecting these things, they're far from shocking. Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa, who apparently has a thing for fixing damaged boys. In comes Ryan, the survivor of an apparent slaughter by his younger sister, Cary Ann. He was supposedly away at an aunt's house while this happened, which is the only reason he's still alive. When his parents died, they left him the house, along with some insurance money. When that aunt died, he moved into the house with plans of fixing it up and selling it. That's what he wants everyone to think, anyways.
When Ryan first shows up, I really couldn't help but love him. He's so darn cute, and he was so sad and sweet. I really loved Elissa as well; the rocker chick who was sweet and quick to make friends. I was really rooting for them as a couple. But, of course, everyone has secrets. Ryan's secret was that he was keeping Cary Ann in the basement. She was supposed to have run off into the woods after killing their parents, but no one really knew what happened to her. Some thought she'd died, and some others thought she had become a wild-woman, living in the woods and keeping to herself. It had become a legend in only four years. Ryan tells Elissa that Cary Ann had an accident when they were children that caused her to have brain damage, which was why she was so psychotic and always trying to escape. She wasn't all there, and he was only trying to protect everyone by keeping her locked up. The plot thickens, though, as more of Ryan's secrets are revealed.
As far as technical things go, it was pretty good. There was very little blood, so there wasn't really a need for special effects. The movie looked good, especially with all those attractive young faces, and the actors were all good. The problem was that there wasn't all that much to it. There were a couple of jump-scares, but they weren't chilling or creepy -- just surprising. Things sneaking up on you but not actually scaring you. There was practically no suspense whatsoever, even in the "build up," and the big reveal at the end was not original at all. I'll tell you this: It's Psycho meets Sleepaway Camp. There, I've ruined the ending for you.
Spoilers after the jump. Continue at your own risk.
The true story of Ryan and Cary Ann didn't make a lot of sense to me. I think they were trying to go for something shocking, but to me, it was just weird. So, she died. His parents "turned him into Cary Ann," made up a story about him being out of town, and...he killed them? And grew up to abduct girls, so he could pretend that they were Cary Ann. What does their turning him into her have to do with the abductions? Wouldn't it make more sense if he'd grown up still believing that he was Cary Ann?
Then again...in his flashback, he yelled at his parents, telling them that he was Ryan, dammit! And he said that he "took care of them," so I guess their message never made it into his head. But then, shouldn't he feel a bit of resentment toward Cary Ann, since his parents obviously loved her more and didn't even care if Ryan never existed at all? Why would he want to surround himself with various fake versions of her? Why wouldn't he just want to be rid of her? I think it would make more sense if he was abducting these girls to kill them; thus, killing his sister over and over again. I think I would have liked that better than this wannabe Norman Bates/Angela crap it had going. The two things didn't mesh well and didn't make sense when I actually stopped to think about it.
What do you guys think?