Amelia (Davis) is raising her six-year old son Samuel (Wiseman) alone since the death of her husband in a car accident the day he was born. As Sam’s birthday approaches, he insists there’s an evil spirit in the house, and his behavior becomes increasingly erratic. One day a sinister pop-up storybook appears and strange things start to happen. Amelia destroys the book, but it reappears with even more twisted pictures and threats. Is Sam’s pain conjuring this entity? Or is Amelia slowly going insane?
Kent’s petrifying first feature was an award-winning and critical success, as well as a box office hit. The primary location, a sparse old house, creates a spooky backdrop for what begins as a psychological battle between mother and child and develops into a prolonged struggle against a horrific supernatural force. Kent wanted the special effects to be in camera and the “ghost” was filmed using stop-motion, but most viewers will be way too scared to note the technique. An intense performance by Davis evokes masterpieces such as “Repulsion” and “The Shining” in this textured, terrifying contemporary classic.