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Wanted to brush up on my Scott Derrickson after Dr. Strange. A solid horror movie without too dumb of a premise. Not an especially satisfying ending, but not bad.
|Vincent D'Onofrio||Professor Jonas|
|Fred Dalton Thompson||Sheriff|
|Cameron Ocasio||BBQ Son / Killer|
|Michael Hall D'Addario||Trevor|
|Blake Mizrahi||Christopher Miller / Sleepytime Son|
"Once you see him, nothing can save you."
The film opens with Super 8 footage depicting a family of four standing beneath a tree with hoods over their heads and nooses around their necks. An unseen figure saws through a limb acting as a counterweight, causing their deaths by hanging.
Months later, washed-up true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moves into the murdered family's home with his wife, Tracy (Juliet Rylance), and their two children, Ashley (Clare Foley), a gifted artist who is allowed to paint on her walls, and Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario), who begins re-experiencing bizarre night terrors upon moving into the home. Only Ellison is aware that the house they are moving into was the crime scene. Ellison intends to use the murders as the basis for his new book, and hopes that his research will turn up the fate of the family's fifth member, a little girl named Stephanie who disappeared following the murders.
Ellison finds a box in the attic that contains a projector and several reels of Standard 8 mm footage that are each labeled as innocent home movies. Watching the films, Ellison discovers that they are snuff movies depicting families being murdered in various ways: having their throats slit in bed (Sleepy Time '98), being burnt to death in a car (BBQ '79), being drowned in their pool (Pool Party '66), being run over by a lawn mower (Lawn Work '86), and the hanging that opened the movie (Family Hanging Out '11).
The drowning film proves especially disturbing for Ellison after he notices the face of a demonic figure watching the drownings from the bottom of the pool. Ellison eventually finds the figure observing the murders in each of the films, along with a strange painted symbol; inspecting the lid of the box containing the films, Ellison discovers childish drawings depicting the murders, along with crude sketches of the demonic figure, identified as "Mr. Boogie."
Consulting a local deputy (James Ransone), Ellison discovers that the murders depicted in the films took place at different times, beginning in the 1960s, and in different cities across the country. He also learns that the families were all drugged before being killed; and that a child from each family went missing following every murder. The deputy refers Ellison to a local professor, Jonas (Vincent D'Onofrio), whose expertise is the occult and demonic phenomena, to decipher the symbol in the films. Jonas tells Ellison that the symbols are that of a pagan Sumerian deity named Bughuul (Nick King), who would kill entire families so that he could take their children into his realm and consume their souls.
One night, Ellison hears the film projector running and goes up to the attic. There, he finds the missing children in various states of decay, watching one of the films. Bughuul suddenly appears on camera before physically appearing before Ellison. Ellison takes the camera and the films to the backyard and burns them. Then he wakes his family to tell them that they are moving back to their old house.
At his old home, Ellison receives a message from Professor Jonas, who sends him scans of historical drawings associated with Bughuul; each had been partially destroyed because ancient cultures believed that Bughuul lived within the images, and that they acted as portals between his realm and the mortal world. Ellison then discovers the projector and films in his attic, along with a new envelope of film labeled "extended cut endings". During this time, the deputy tries calling several times, but Ellison never answers.
The next time the deputy calls, while Ellison is assembling the films, he answers. The deputy informs him that he has discovered a link between each of the murders: Every family had previously lived in the house where the last murder took place, and each new murder occurred shortly after the family moved into their new residence; by moving, Ellison has placed himself and his family in line to be the next victims.
Ellison then watches the footage. He finds that it depicts the missing children coming onscreen following each murder, revealing themselves to be the killers before suddenly disappearing. Before he can react, Ellison becomes light-headed; inspecting his coffee cup, he finds a note reading "Good Night, Daddy" and a green liquid inside the cup before losing consciousness.
Ellison awakens to find himself, his wife and his son bound and gagged. Ashley approaches holding the 8 mm camera, and promises him that she will make him famous again. Ashley then proceeds to murder her family with an axe, using their blood to paint images of cats, dogs and unicorns on the walls. Her work complete, Ashley views the Super-8 film of her murders, which concludes with an image of the missing children watching her. Bughuul appears, causing the children to flee. He lifts Ashley into his arms and disappears into the film with her.
The film concludes with an image of the box of films in the Oswalt family's attic, now accompanied by a reel labeled "House Painting '12".
theatrical : 2012-10-05 : India
Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : Ireland
Theatrical : 2012-10-05 : United Kingdom
Theatrical : 2012-10-10 : Philippines
Theatrical : 2012-10-11 : Russia
Theatrical : 2012-10-11 : Singapore
Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Brazil
Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Canada
Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : Mexico
Theatrical : 2012-10-12 : United States of America
Theatrical : 2012-10-18 : Malaysia
Theatrical : 2012-10-25 : Argentina
Theatrical : 2012-10-26 : Estonia
Theatrical : 2012-10-26 : Finland
Theatrical : 2012-10-26 : Lithuania
Theatrical : 2012-10-31 : Norway
Theatrical : 2012-10-31 : Spain
Theatrical : 2012-11-01 : Australia
Theatrical : 2012-11-01 : Chile
Theatrical : 2012-11-01 : Denmark
Theatrical : 2012-11-07 : Belgium
Theatrical : 2012-11-07 : France
Theatrical : 2012-11-08 : Portugal
Theatrical : 2012-11-15 : Netherlands
Theatrical : 2012-11-22 : Germany
Theatrical : 2012-11-22 : Hong Kong
Theatrical : 2012-11-30 : Taiwan
Theatrical : 2012-11-30 : Sweden
Theatrical : 2012-12-06 : Hungary
Theatrical : Japan
Theatrical : 2013-03-14 : Italy
Theatrical : 2012-11-23 : Poland
Theatrical : 2012-11-15 : Kuwait
Theatrical : 2012-11-08 : Bahrain
DVD : 2013-03-06 : Sweden
DVD : 2013-02-19 : United States of America
2012-03-11 : United States of America
2012-09-21 : United States of America
2012-10-31 : France
2012-11-14 : Sweden
2012-10-05 : South Korea