Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Did you know Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando were in a film together?”
It’s completely what I expected from this for better and worse. Totally absurd, bizarre, but ridiculously entertaining for its entire run time. It doesn’t quite stick everything it tries to do, but for most of its run time it manages to be effectively creepy and tense.
I’m still never sure how I feel about M Knight. His direction here does create an off kilter sort of feeling, with its swooping camera shots alongside awkward camera angles. It does create atmosphere and tension, but then at times it feels like it goes a little too far and starts to feel awkward. I do think he does a good job of making the beach feel claustrophobic and small, the madness the characters start to feel is apparent and there was many moments I felt on edge.
If there’s one major thing here that needs altering, it’s the script. It varies from laughably bad to downright cringy. Some of the characters just don’t act like human beings, and while it creates that off kilter feeling at times, it doesn’t work when they use the same sort of dialogue to try and make emotional moments work. I initially thought the kids dialogue was written quite nice, especially the son, but then the rest of the cast all talk and interact the same way the 6 year old boy did, it’s just bizarre.
The cast are all pretty decent. There’s a few performances that slightly veer into over the top and campy, but thankfully it sort of fits the rest of the film. I do think some of the cast struggle a little with the script and dialogue that has been given to them, so their performance feels slightly skewed by that aspect. I did think Alex Wolff gave a great performance as a child stuck in an aging body. I thought he conveyed the confusion and panic of what was happening really rather well.
I feel like I’ve been quite negative, but I did have a lot of fun with this. M Knight really feels like the Fast and Furious of horror/thrillers. Sit back and enjoy the absurdity, and don’t think about it too much.