A few too many genre films have slipped under my radar or positioned themselves out of reach this year, but this one didn't. Better hurry if you're interested, though... this Europa effort (Luc Besson was not involved, however) is headed right out the door if the box office means anything.
Oh, and we're not out of superhero territory just yet... director Farren Blackburn (working from a screenplay by Christina Hodson) happens to be one of the Netflix DAREDEVIL directors, as well.
Child psychologist Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) is suffering from extreme guilt after her decision to send her rebellious teenage son to school leads to a traffic accident that kills her husband and leaves her son non-responsive. She feeds and bathes his shell every day (even as she imagines ending it all abruptly), but nothing assuages her feelings. And even when she makes a breakthrough with a troubled, violent (and deaf) nine-year-old orphan boy, he, too, is yanked away to yet another foster home when HIS behavior becomes unmanageable.
Except THIS little boy apparently breaks away from custody and makes a beeline to Mary for safety... only to disappear yet again just as quickly as a potentially lethal ice-storm looms. Is he alive? Was he really there in the first place? And why won't he leave Mary alone?
Fellow shrink Dr. Wilson (Oliver Platt) has a pretty good idea of what's really happening, but he can only communicate with Mary over the computer...
Okay--this could go in a number of different directions... it could be a traumatic haunting along the lines of THE CHANGELING, or it could be a "drive Auntie Petunia bonkers" TV movie from the 70s. Or something else altogether. This movie just begs for second-guessing and after-the-fact howling, but that's okay. Once it chooses its path it settles nicely into well-handled (if traditional) suspense, sometimes a little too derivative for its own good (I guess a certain character didn't remember THE SHINING when he decided to play "Dick Halloran to the rescue" in the snow), but never boring or uninteresting. That's not going to get it anywhere near the top... but you know what? Sometimes that's all I need.
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