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Yeah, because we all expect our kids to be better with strangers with riches, right?s
And for the record, no I didn't watch this movie fearing it would be Slender Man ripoff. I was actually more feared it would be a ripoff of Phantasm.

Remember that film Drive? Remember how it was marketed as a "Fast and Furious" type film about gun shootouts and car chases? And remember the woman who sued the producers over it being more of an art house movie (of course she got zero support from cinephiles and her ase was dismissed faster than you could say "five minute window")? Well, this film is sort of similar in that regard. It's horribly marketed as a horror, yet it's more of a lifetime channel lite soap opera about kids being abducted. The difference? Drive was a good movie, if slightly overrated. This film, I can't say the same thing sadly.

The first half is a horror/suspense movie, but sadly it wastes such potential and turns into a drama about poor people having kids in the second half. I guess Biel's acting is alright, but even she can't carry the film. The twist is revealed halfway through, where Biel is apparently the figure abducting kids, but it's dull and predictable from the first frame. Theheavynhanded narration doesn't help matters either, and that narration at the end and the last line ("I made the right choice... right? Right? Right?!") are such a punch in the face.

The biggest problem? Its Family Unfriendly Aesop. So apparenty parents that are poor deserve to have their kids taken away frm them, and have said kids put in the homes of complete strangers who shower them with riches and all these toys, right? It's a horrible message to get across. The film's makers seem to not understand children. You can take them away fromtheir parents and shower with them with all the riches as much as you like, but they'll whine and cry until the cows come home.

I will say the location/geography was nice and pretty looking, some shots were just plain beautiful, like a painting in itself. Yet even that isn't enough to save the movie from being a complete mess. Avoid at all cost.
First, when you realized that it wasn't necessarily a ripoff of Phantasm didn't you think to reconsider the film independently? In fact, ought not films and other entertainment media be judged primarily on their own merits?

Second, Covers Always Lie and Never Trust a Trailer.

Third, the first half of the film actually seems to deconstruct the Family-Unfriendly Aesop in order to show that it is neither "family-friendly" nor an actual "aesop". David's mother was distraught enough from the kidnapping that the rest of the town sought to avoid her. Sure she was poor, and sure David may have had fun with Julia. But once David learns the truth that his mother cared about him, he quickly becomes scared of the person who had been taking care of him these past two to three months.

Actually, this plays nicely since the first part of the "second half" has Julia question whether their actions made any difference. The Villain Protagonist has a Heel Realization, directly deconstructing the Family-Unfriendly Aesop for us.

And it is then followed by the "predictable" "reconstruction"...Which as you admit offers a "punch to the face" by having the teenage girl who wanted to leave the abusive household questioning whether her running away from the abuse was the right way to handle the situation. Note, however, that: 1) It didn't reconstruct the "aesop" it had deconstructed. In fact, it keeps the work of the Tall Man as lying within Well-Intentioned Extremist territory. 2) It directly questions the "aesop" that it was able to reach after the deconstruction of the initial lesson.

In short, it seems that you were Completely Missing the Point of the film. Which is understandable given how the film is quite messy.

—-

As to the "predictability" aspect, there's a difference between saying "either this or that could happen" and "this/that will definitely happen". Only in the latter case ought one claim "predictability" since the former case allows you to be wrong (and if you are wrong then it is by definition unpredictable since you didn't predict what happened).

I mean, it could have been that Biel kidnapped the children, that someone else was kidnapping the children, that a group from the town was kidnapping the children, or that the children were just running away.
comment #22818 AbraSliver 12th Jan 14
Thank you Propane Nightmare! After reading so many reviews on IMDB by pseudo-intellectual armchair philosophers who think this movie is so 'deep' and 'intelligent,' I'm glad to see someone else feels the way I do about this film.
comment #23734 Angelslayer 7th Apr 14
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