Gary Kline’s review published on Letterboxd:
24/31 - 5/7 Second Film In A Franchise
I do love me some Mike Flanagan. I think he is the most assured new horror filmmaker on the scene. His singular style compels attention and rewards it with dread and earned scares every time. I also appreciate how he seems to keep working with the same actors. The familiarity he has with them leads to some terrific performances.
I hadn’t gotten around to this one until this Hooptober as I never saw the original and felt I needed to in order to appreciate a prequel. The fact that the original is reviled kept me stuck in my tracks. I decided to just skip the original and was rewarded with a simple effective haunted spirit tale.
Taking place in the mid 60s, the film affects the time period in a variety of ways but I particularly appreciated the cigarette burns in the frame corners for reel changes.
As for the story, it’s pretty basic but well executed. No real surprises and this does seem like a quick warm up for the far richer and more expansive genius that is Haunting Of Hill House. Yet, the scares are effectively creepy and at time unsettling. A possessed child is a unique brand of terror, and one that is also malevolent and murderous is particularly unsettling.
Kudos to the cast, particularly Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu WIlson (who play the same character at different ages in Hill House) and Annalise Basso who has blossomed into an impressive young actress.
Can’t wait for the Hill House follow up Haunting of Bly Manor premiering on Netflix next month.