By David Dent
Like this year’s Hereditary, one read of the movie’s title and you know it can probably be interpreted in more than one way – and you’d be right.
Manual worker Ryan inherits a large seaside house from his biological father, after real dad dies in a surfing accident. Ryan and his girlfriend Isi move in, despite the temptation to sell for a massive profit. This could be the break they need, although the locals are surprised that the couple would choose to relocate.
Ryan becomes increasingly moody and seems to gradually be overtaken by the spirit of his late father, who may himself have been possessed by the spirits of the house, which has a very dark history.
If this synopsis sounds a little sketchy, it’s because the film itself is rather inconclusive. This isn’t to say that it’s not an absorbing watch; Chase Joliet and Sara Montez are great as the young couple whose idyllic mortgage free life quickly turns sour, Joliet particularly convincing as a man whose demons lie deep under the surface.
Director Tyler Savage chooses to sit on the fence as to the potentially supernatural elements. Is Ryan really possessed by spirits or is he just a deeply troubled man? By the end of the movie this dilemma hasn’t resolved itself, and there are arguably one too many story elements which confuse rather than enlighten. But Savage excellently conjures up the constant threat of violence and the film’s location, initially bucolic but increasingly isolated and barren, works well.
Ultimately this is a film about the sins of the father being visited on the son, and the inescapable tussle of nature versus nurture. It’s not an easy watch bit for the most part it holds up really well as a first feature, aided by a fine brooding score from indie band Mini Mansions.