(2009) dir. Charles Guard, Thomas Guard
Another re-make of an Asian horror film, this one got some re-vamping by the writing/directorial team of brothers Charles & Thomas Guard. It actually got some moderately nice comments in some review or so that I’d read, calling it above the average. I don’t know that I agree.
Star Emily Browning, a pretty-faced teen who is trying to recover memories of her mother’s death in a fire, emerges from an institution, returning to her sister, her father, and her father’s new girlfriend and to the mystery of what really happened that night.
To be frank, the film traipses down a pretty obvious path, so much so, that there isn’t much tension, just a waiting game of unfolding drama. In fact, if it wasn’t for Browning’s appealling visage, I don’t know that this film would have held its own the whole way.
But then, there is a surprise twist at the end. As there often is in these types of film. But this one feels like it came out of left field, like there was no indication that this was possible in the main narrative, so much so that even with the flashbacks that show “what really happened” (a cheap tool in my mind in any usage), it’s still a little hard to believe that the whole film was constructed with this ending in mind. As it turns out, it is a deviation from the original, and perhaps an improvement. But I think that it’s only interesting in retrospect and the film would have benefited greatly from focusing more on the possibility of the ending imbued throughout.
It says something that a film that has been released this year, 2009, is already on DVD for consumption. Take that for what you will.