Pittsburgh psychiatrist Caroline (Moore) doesn't believe multiple-personality disorder actually exists, even as her psychiatrist father (DeMunn) continually challenges her. His latest test is David (Rhys Meyers), whose alter-egos manifest with an unexplained physicality. As she looks into the case, Caroline's scepticism is shaken by hints that something demonic might be going on here, especially when an agitated woman (Conroy) tells her a scary story about "Satan-worshipping mountain witches". Soon Caroline's brother (Corddry) and daughter (Proulx) are caught up in the mystery as well.
Actually, half of the fun here is watching Moore give yet another subtle, involving performance in another goofy, overwrought story (see also The Forgotten). While it starts out as a psychological thriller, things quickly get supernatural, and yet she maintains her composure, quietly revealing little details of her character and her connections with those around her. And even more effectively, her fear is palpable: there are some pretty terrifying sequences in this film, made believable only because of Moore's raw authenticity.
Contrast this, though, with Rhys Meyers' eye-rolling, head-bobbing performance as the thoroughly crazed David (or Adam or whoever he is in the next scene).
He's never believable for a moment, and comes dangerously close to unravelling the whole movie. Much better is Conroy's haunted mother, Corddry's underplayed nice guy and DeMunn's gleefully mischievous shrink. They add terrific offhanded realism to their scenes, underscoring the freak-out craziness with honest interaction.
From the meandering opening shot, the directors ramp up the film's horror tone, with Kubrickian intensity that includes extremely long takes, carefully controlled camerawork and straight-on nightmares. These clever touches make the movie visually intriguing from start to finish, and give a nice spin to the constant debates between curiosity and certainty as well as science and religion. As "the devil's magic" increasingly rears its evil head, the story takes several inane twists, piling on so much backwoods mythology that our eerie jitters are replaced with giggles. But that's not always a bad thing.
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 16th April 2009
Distributed by: Regent Releasing
Production compaines: NALA Films, Maraci/Edelstein Films, IM Global, Shelter Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 8
IMDB: 7.9 / 10
Director: Marlind and Stein
Producer: Darlene Caamano, Emilio Diez Barroso, Neal Edelstein, Mike Macari
Screenwriter: Michael Cooney
Starring: Julianne Moore as Cara Harding, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as David / Adam / Wesley, Jeffrey DeMunn as Dr. Harding, Frances Conroy as Mrs. Bernburg, Nate Corddry as Stephen Harding (as Nate Corddry), Brooklynn Proulx as Sammy, Brian Anthony Wilson as Virgil, Joyce Feurring as Granny Holler Witch, Steven Rishard as Detective Danton, Charles Techman as Montgomery Hughes, John Peakes as Doctor Charles Foster, Michale Graves as Holler Man, Chaz Moneypenny as Adam Sabre - Host, Charles David Richards as Holiday Inn Bar Keep (as Charles D. Richards), Rick Applegate as Warden Collins, William Kania as Grave Digger, Stephanie Macdougall as Diner patron, David Dale McCue as Prison Guard, Giovanna Yannotti as Lawyer, Irene Ziegler as Doll Shopkeeper
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