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The horrific story of the Blackwoods' fate, and the ancient evil behind it, has lain buried in that basement ever since, sealed off like a mausoleum and left undisturbed. That is, until now. Several new tenants have just moved into Blackwood Manor: Alex Hurst, an ambitious architect and divorced parent with big plans for his new home; Kim, Alex's beautiful young coworker and current live-in girlfriend; and Sally, Alex's estranged and lonely young daughter.
Horror Thriller - This horror movie does not have too much graphic violence and only minimal language, but the dark, creepy atmosphere and disturbing images make it much too intense for children. Fans of the three stars will have much to savor.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good The movie is deliciously creepy even if it does exhibit some issues that keep it from being a top-notch example of "things that go bump in the night" horror.
Roger EbertFull Review Very Good This is a very good haunted house film. It milks our frustration deliciously.
USA TodayFull Review Average This insipid wannabe frightener features a checklist of derivative conventions.
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OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 42 moviegoers:
WOW! I haven't seen reviews this mixed in a long time. It appears that you will either love this movie or be somewhat to very disappointed in it.
The detailed negative comments were: "Terrible antagonist" "Not scary, I laughed a lot" "Didn't like anything" "Bad acting" "Bad story" "Too long" "Too predictable."
The detailed positive comments were: "Liked acoustics" "Liked makeup" "Liked cinematography" "Intense" "Scary" "Great movie" "It kept me on my toes" "Liked Katie Holmes" "Not a bad idea for a movie" "Liked everything" "Intense" "Scary."
Blackwood Manor has new tenants. While architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) restore their Gothic mansion's period interiors, Alex's young daughter Sally (Bailee Madison)—neglected by her real mother and brushed aside by the careerist father—can investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate. Spurring Sally's investigation are the voices—rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who are so very hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a gateway into a hellish underworld from which an army of beady-eyed, sharp-clawed monsters emerge, small in size but endless in number: the homunculi. Confronted with the horror that now threatens to taker her life and destroy her family, Sally desperately tries to warn the whole house, but there's just one problem: no one believes her. Will she make them understand in time, or will they become another chapter in the centuries-long horror story of Blackwood Manor?