* * (Don)
* * * (Genre fans)
When will they ever learn to not go down in the basement?
Fans of horror movies will recognize all of the basic horror movie ingredients in yet another tale about people who move into spooky old houses with strange pasts. This one is supposedly set in Rhode Island but was filmed in Australia.
After an eerie opening that shows what happened years ago in the house, we shift to the present where the first words you hear are "Welcome to T.F. Green Airport.”
Young Sally has flown from L.A. to Rhode Island after "my Mom gave me to my Dad,” only to be brought to this scary old mansion that her father and girlfriend are renovating in hopes to show it off and be on the cover of Architectural Digest.
Sally (Bailee Madison) rejects Kim (Katie Holmes), misses her mother, quickly discovers that her father (Guy Pearce) has little time for her, and quickly discovers little creatures speaking to her through room grates and an old grate in the basement.
When things get out of control, a psychiatrist is brought in who determines that the child feels neglected and imagines all this.
But we know better. We get glimpses, and eventually full shots, of these ugly creatures who want Sally for their own.
And what's with the caretaker? How much of the house's past is he not sharing?
And what's with the teeth that Sally finds?
Sally fights off these horrible creatures, but every time there is an altercation they disappear before anyone else sees them. There is always that sense of impending doom, enhanced by the background music and long, boring shots before the writers try to shock you off your seat.
The acting is quite good for this type of movie, especially 8-year-old Bailee Madison.
The ending is a bit of a downer, but so is the whole movie. Just stay out of the basement. Joyce was smarter. She stayed home.
Rated R, because of a few gruesome scenes and a lot of violence.