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Satanic thrillers have become all too common and while
has the hallmarks of a superior effort, it rarely rises above the pack. Written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar (
) and inspired by a true story, it's set in 1990 in small-town Minnesota where a teenage girl (Emma Watson) has accused her father (David Dencik) of abuse. As the detective in charge of her case (Ethan Hawke) and the psychologist assisting him (David Thewlis) probe further they seem to uncover a diabolical conspiracy. The cinematography is crisp, the film's sometimes nightmarish imagery impresses and it rarely resorts to cheap scares, building genuine suspense in places. However, the story is slight, the details are hackneyed and the writing is tediously functional and occasionally clunky, while the promising cast have mixed fortunes - Watson struggles to conjure any depth for her character, Dencik is underused, Hawke has more to do but is hemmed in by the thin material. And an ending that seeks to restore credibility instead feels anticlimactic, as the film fizzles out into something pretty forgettable.
In 1990, Minnesota detective Bruce Kenner finds evidence of a satanic cult when he investigates the case of John Gray, who admits to sexually abusing his 17-year-old daughter Angela, but has no recollection of it. Psychological thriller, starring Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson and David Thewlis.
Cast & Crew
9 Oct 2015
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