Thursday, April 1, 2021

Noise in the Middle: Movie Review

I've been on a horror movie kick for a while (as I've said before particularly here and here, I love a good horror movie, and I also think that after the last year+ of insanity, nothing really scares me anymore, or at least fiction doesn't scare me more than reality). I've been checking out every horror movie I can find on my various streaming services and, well, I've definitely watched some crappy ones. Maybe I'll blog about them sometime.

This evening, I watched Noise in the Middle, the story of a grieving widow and his daughter with severe autism, who seek out an experimental treatment (what appears to be transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy or something like it). What he doesn't realize is that the house he rents is haunted by an occult-loving sadist and the ghosts of the children from his poor house/orphanage that he bound to be trapped in the house after their death. Or something. It's not completely clear but it apparently involved branding the children with an infinity symbol and also the children killing him and themselves with a fire. Or something. 

The concept was promising - although I find the "kid with autism has special powers (in this case, is a conduit and can see spirits)" concept to be problematic, just like I found the "woman with dementia is actually possessed" concept to be problematic in The Taking of Deborah Logan - and the movie started off great. We established the background, got some ominous shots and glowing eyes in dark rooms. We also saw some really interesting symbolic imagery after Emmy's (the daughter) treatments with TMS, very Ring-video type images, which could have been used more fully in connection with the haunted house and the concept but sadly was not. We even had the "person randomly finds occult shop/enthusiast who believes the main character and helps them" trope used for more humorous and uplifting effect. 

In the middle, things began to drag and become more convoluted, which I thought might be used to tie in the symbolic imagery from Emmy's sessions, but sadly was not. The end was just a big old mess. It felt like the writer had a great idea, spent lots of time on the beginning, lost steam in the middle, and then had to just finish the damn thing by the end. The movie toyed with so many horror concepts (haunted house starts to bring out the darkness in/infect the father, like The Shining; seemingly random images have more concrete meaning for the mystery, like Ringu/The Ring; grief manifested as a spirit or entity, like The Babadook) but never really fully committed to any of it.

Overall, I'd say don't bother with this one. The beginning made me have high expectations that this movie would be good/meaningful/even a little scary, but I ended up with "WTF did I just watch and why?".