mary | michael goi | anthony jaswinski | gary oldman | emily mortimer | manuel garcia-rulfo | haunted | haunted house | ghost | possessed | possession | united states | stefanie scott | chloe perrin | owen teague | jennifer esposito | douglas urbanski | claire byrne
Director: Michael Goi
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Starring: Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
This was a film that I didn’t necessarily know about, but the trailer showed at my theater before a couple movies I caught. When I saw that Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer were the stars, which was a selling point. One of my greatest fears is open water so having it set on a sailboat which is also a perk. The synopsis here is a family looking to start a charter-boat business buys a ship that holds terrifying secrets once out on isolated waters.
We actually start this off with a poem that sets the stage of what this film is going to be about. It then shows us a boat from high in the sky and another smaller boat where a flare is shot from. It then shifts to a room where we see Sarah (Emily Mortimer). She has a blanket on and Detective Clarkson (Jennifer Espostio) comes in. Sarah wants to see her daughters, but Clarkson needs her to tell her what happened first.
It then shifts to a sailboat that is just floating. The coast guard brings it in. Also returning to the marina is David (Gary Oldman). He is the best helmsmen that Jay (Douglas Urbanski) has for his charter fishing company. David gets a text message from Sarah to check out a boat that is up for auction. He takes Mike (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) to go with him. The problem is when they arrive, the sailboat we saw earlier catches his eye.
We get the idea that the relationship between David and Sarah is strained. She’s not the biggest fan that he bought this sailboat, but she realizes that he really wants it. The plan is to their own tour charter-boat service, which is altered from fishing to sailing now. They’re fixing it up and going to do a maiden voyage with their two daughters. The older one is Lindsey (Stefanie Scott) and the younger one is Mary (Chloe Perrin), sharing the same name as the boat. Also coming with them is Mike and Tommy (Owen Teague). Tommy is seeing Lindsey, which the parents aren’t the biggest fan of.
It is then revealed that this boat has a history and very similar things seem to happen with each journey of people going mad then disappearing. Sarah notices something is going on with Tommy and with Mary, but David won’t believe it. The farther they go, the worse things get, but can they stop it before it is too late?
I’ve already lain out a bit of what really drew me into this film. We definitely get some of these things that freak me out. The problem though is that we have a bit of issue with execution unfortunately. Let me get into the parts of the story first.
I love the history and the poem that is given to us. I’m not sailor or anything like that, so I don’t know if that’s common knowledge for people that do a lot of sailing or out on the water. This film seems to hint at some superstitions that are commonly known for these people. I do think that kind of hurts the film though if you don’t really know it. I would actually like to have someone who does know more about the lore of the sea to check this out and confirm if I am missing something.
This does also incorporate mythology here a bit as well. The masthead of the boat is the common thing with all of the boats that are plagued with what happens and it is of a siren. Now I know of this as I love Greek mythology and that they appear in The Odyssey. If you don’t know, they’re supposed to be demon like creatures that take the form of beautiful women to lure ships into the rocks to crash. Tommy has a tattoo of this and the entity that could be on this is compared to it. This is kind of an intriguing concept, as I feel they’re trying to hammer it home with all of the references.
Aside from that, there is a good stretch where I was wondering if this film was going to go supernatural or just people going crazy. They really aren’t out on the open water long enough for them to get stir crazy and they do try to claim that all of these people go mad from being on deck alone. Mary is also affected, but that seems to be that the entity wants the children and she’s the youngest and more impressible. I did like that it does present, aside from a couple of nightmares and jump-scares, that it could all be in Sarah’s head until the climax where we know what is going on here. I did think that was a good touch.
Something that I did have an issue with though was the pacing. This unfortunately comes off as generic and other films have done things like this better. Being on the boat does make it a bit different, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t pull me in enough to care. It is actually surprising though with how good the main two actors are. This is also surprising, because this does have the crux that David and Sarah’s relationship is strained and that he is still having issues dealing with it. I think for part of me is how the story is presented. I understood why at the end, but again, it never captured me to really be concerned with it. The ending again doesn’t do anything new though and just a variation on a troupe.
I’ve touched on this, but the acting actually has two great stars. Olman really does embody this character. He is a man who is broken by his wife’s infidelity. He’s hinging everything on this boat, but their problems are amplified when going out on the open water that they are. It just doesn’t play out well enough unfortunately, but I don’t think it is his fault. The same goes for Mortimer. She does so well at taking the blame and acknowledging that what she did is on her. I do think that when she puts pressure on David, that it plays well. Perrin has a good moment that is shocking when she attacks her sister, but that was about it. She isn’t featured as much which I think hurts the overall feel. Scott plays the angst ridden teen pretty well. The rest of the cast rounds out the movie for what was needed.
As for the effects of the film, there really aren’t a lot. I do think they ended up going CGI for the entity we see here, but they did well at only giving us glimpses, which prevents us from getting a good look. This film has a couple of jump-scares, which didn’t really work on me. I do think someone who can’t figure out the beat it would be more effective. We do get some practical effects, which are seen when things happen to characters which are fine. Another issue is that they have characters there to kill off, but two of the deaths are done off screen, so that doesn’t help. The setting and how things are shot were fine though.
Now with that said, this film felt like it was prime for me to really enjoy it, but it does fall flat for me. I like the idea of a haunting on boat and I like that they play it like it could be people just getting stir crazy. The problem there though is that they aren’t on the water long enough. There is a good history, but it just lacks building tension. The two stars are really good and the rest as well in support. The effects are CGI, but they do well at hiding them. The soundtrack really didn’t stand out or hurt the film, it fit for what is needed. I just think that is overall is just slightly above average. It just feels like a generic ghostly type film on a boat, with some good things behind it just not executed well enough.
My Rating: 6 out of 10