Archive for the ‘2 stars’ Category

Inkubus (2011)

Posted: July 3, 2013 in 2 stars, Reviews
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InkubusLet’s get this out of the way first: Inkubus is in fact not a very good movie.

That it’s not a good movie is honestly a little mystifying.  Robert Englund is a joy to watch in anything he does and appears to have a good amount of snarky fun here.  Joey Fatone is effective and affecting as the hapless detective into whose precinct Englund wanders, carrying a severed head.  The redshirt station cops were all eminently watchable in their small parts. Kevin DeCristofano (who has no picture on IMDB so I hope that’s who I’m talking about) is a joy as the guy unjustly arrested for the death associated with the severed head, who spends the rest of the movie explaining to the cops that they’re all going to die in the tone of voice I imagine Mark Zuckerberg uses with small dim children.  Put together, their performances should have added up to a good movie, and yet.

There’s just no there there, ultimately.  Part of the blame for that has to go to the script, which is uninspired – Englund plays an incubus who apparently has to find a new host in the next few hours before he dies, but this is alluded to in one line and then dropped, leaving the impression that all he really wanted to do was go out in one last gory hurrah.  There’s some attempt to provide him with a nemesis in the form of William Forsythe as a retired cop whose family the incubus killed, but it falls flat – Forsythe is given almost nothing to work with except a Stereotyped Tragic Past and a bit of clumsy family drama, and he makes nothing at all of the material he is given to work with, preferring to do the Paycheck Walk from one end of the movie to the other.  I can’t say I blame him, but it didn’t make for much of a subplot.

It’s an excellent setup – an incubus walks into a police station, carrying a severed head, and sits down at the table.  What happens then?  It’s a damn shame that the answer is “Not much, particularly.”

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  It’s not a bad movie, at all;  it’s just not a good one.  Watch it if you have the chance, but don’t expect much.  I did enjoy it, more or less, but mostly I just wanted to send the story and cast back to the filmmakers and tell them to start over and give it another try.


In a way, I don’t like reviewing Japanese movies I didn’t love.  I just feel like they’re too high-context and I don’t have the cultural understanding to judge their merits accurately.  Like, I don’t understand what’s scary about hair, in the first place, and now I have to try to figure out what’s scary about basketballs.  (Spoiler: I did not figure out what was scary about basketballs.)

White Ghost/Black Ghost is actually two short films, both of which are supposed to fit into the whole Ju-On mythos.  White Ghost involves a family moving into the Grudge house and coming to a nasty end at the hands of the oldest son.  The story’s told in a flash-forward/flashback framework that bounces back and forth between a number of characters, all of whom have had a glancing encounter with someone or something involved in the murder, and all of whom come to a bad end.  There are some good bits and some effective scares, but the movie as a whole balances precariously on the boundary between effective and ineffective.

It’s still sort of balancing there, unresolved.  It probably would have been a grim, unsettling little movie if the ghost hadn’t, bewilderingly, been a tiny little old lady carrying around a basketball like she was going to beat someone to death with it.  Every time she came on the screen I just sat there, staring at her, going “What?  No, seriously, what?

I mean, the rest of the movie I liked.  I didn’t love it, but I thought it was good at conveying the sheer random nastiness of how the curse can just screw up your life if you so much as walk past it on the street.  (The poor cake delivery guy, holy crap.)  If it hadn’t had a ghost who made me stop dead in my tracks and go “What? What in the hell can possibly be scary about a little old lady with delusions of being a Harlem Globetrotter?” then I’d probably have been a lot more impressed.

Black Ghost, about a girl with an ingested twin who’s thoroughly pissed off about not being born, is widely considered to be inferior to the first movie.  I can’t decide if I agree with that or not, but I’m leaning toward no.  Certainly it’s less clever and stylish, but a couple of the scares were far creepier, and the only thing that made me go “Okay, no, seriously now” was the throat-creaky thing the ghosts will insist on doing even though I did that all the time as a child and it wasn’t scary then either.  It also gets bonus points for containing an exorcist, thus instantly transforming it into a sort of live-action crossover between The Grudge and Tactics.

Black Ghost is a lot more straightforward a horror movie than White Ghost, which is both a strength and a weakness – there are no distractions from the story, but the story itself is a little banal, and it could be that some distraction wouldn’t have done it harm.  On the other hand, White Ghost is a prime example of how even a clever movie can be derailed by by that one thing that’s just a little too distracting.

So what’s the verdict?  I went back and forth between a low three-star rating and a high two-star rating.  In the end, though, it only gets two, both because of Grandma With a Basketball (seriously, what?) and because of the over-reliance on creaky throat noises.

In the course of trying to decide whether I wanted to watch The Pact enough to spring $6.99 for it on Amazon Instant, I read a review of it on Shock Till You Drop.  This particular site put the actors’ previous movies in bold and parentheses, just like I put their names in bold and parentheses.  Because I wasn’t paying attention, this caused me to be convinced for like 30 seconds that the lead actress in The Pact was named Death Valley, and I was like “Dear God, Bertie Wooster was right, there’s some raw work pulled at the font.”  Then I skimmed farther down in the review and realized that, while I could totally see some neo-hippie minor celebrities naming their daughter Death Valley, I’m pretty sure even the staunchest of geeks would draw the line at naming their son Starship Troopers.

Basically, a woman who by all accounts is pretty nasty dies, leaving her two unenthusiastic daughters to tidy up her affairs.  The first daughter (Agnes Bruckner) gets to the house a couple of days before the second and promptly disappears.  The second daughter (Caity Lotz) rolls up a few days later to find no sister and an awful lot of things going bump in the night.  When the house apparently eats a cousin too, Lotz sets out to find out what the hell is going on.

The Pact, as far as I could tell, doesn’t actually involve a pact of any sort.  That’s kind of a good metaphor for the movie.  It starts out as a fairly good ghost story, then takes a left turn into the land of uninspired serial killer movies.  Neither of the interesting characters – Casper Van Dein as the world’s most blase cop and Haley Hudson as a medium who apparently lives in a crack house – have much screen time.  Caity Lotz as Annie has one sort of inspired moment during a ouija-board scene where she appears to be attempting to convince an invisible audience that she is Too Cool to Freak Out, but other than that, she wears the role in much the same way as a couture model wears a McQ dress – her job appears to be to carry the script along without ever distracting the viewer by being memorable in any way.

The last scene, and I’m not considering this a spoiler because it made no sense to me and will probably make no sense to you either, is someone’s eye opening.  I don’t know whose eye it was or what the significance was of it popping open.  Undoubtedly I was supposed to pay very close attention to everyone’s eyes in this movie, but sadly, I really didn’t.

So what’s the verdict?  I hate to say it, but two stars.  I want to give it more just because I forked over a ridiculous amount of money to rent it, but it’s just not that good a movie.  It started out as one, but the serial killer half was disappointingly devoid of things like imagination, good acting, interesting characters, or substantive additions to anything that came before it.  If you’re really bored and can catch it for free on Netflix, go ahead, but learn from my fail and don’t pay money to see it.

The Yellow Wallpaper (2011)

Posted: September 5, 2012 in 2 stars, Reviews
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2011 was a banner year for yellow wallpaper, my god.  There were not one, not two, not three, but four movies based (more or less loosely) on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, including… well, this one.  I don’t know about the others, but this one is a low-budget horror movie, and therefore – as you have probably already guessed – bears basically no resemblance to the short story beyond the main character’s first name and the fact that one room is papered in a rather terrifying yellow wallpaper.  Seriously, this wallpaper is a scary character in and of itself.  I can’t imagine anyone could possibly have put it up unironically.

The movie poster contains the tagline “Are we already dead?”  Your guess is as good as mine as to why.  It doesn’t have anything to do with the actual movie.

Anyway, the story.  The fact that it bears very little resemblance to the short story is just as well, because the POV character appears to be the husband, which in another film would have been an astoundingly crass co-opting of a feminist narrative.  In this one, John and Charlotte Weiland (Aric Cushing and Juliet Landau), accompanied by Charlotte’s sister Jennie (Dale Dickey), have just lost their house and their daughter in a fire.  Still in shock and possessed only of the clothes on their back, they rent the obligatory spooky house.

Soon, however, all of them start seeing visions of the dead daughter.  Jennie goes off somewhere and returns with a psychic (Veronica Cartwright) in tow to tell them that there is Something Evil in the house, and things go rapidly downhill from there.

The thing about The Yellow Wallpaper is that the four main actors are far and away better than the movie deserves.  They actually manage to sell it for most of the run time.  Not the end, because this movie ends in a denouement so flat-out silly that Ian McKellen at the right hand of Sara Bernhardt couldn’t have saved it, but more of it than the filmmakers had any right to expect.  The dialogue is painful, there are way too many scenes that just make no sense and don’t even seem to belong in the movie, and the “We are seeing everything through a thick yellow fog, look at us being all profound and allegorical” cinematography was ill-advised.  Mostly what I took away from this was that I’d like to see the cast play similar roles in a much better movie.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  If it weren’t for the cast, this movie would be hanging by its fingernails at one star, with the last fifteen minutes threatening to overbalance it right into the zero-star quagmire.  If you only see one 2011 movie based on “The Yellow Wallpaper” this year, you’ve probably got three better choices.  I haven’t seen any of them, but I have a hard time imagining that they could really be much worse.


Generally speaking, it’s not the best of signs when, 30 seconds into the movie, I start going “Jesus take the wheel, isn’t that douchebag dead YET?”, and continue wondering aloud – at 30-second intervals like a back-seat toddler who has to pee – why that douchebag is not, in fact, dead yet.  In this movie the douchebag in question is possibly the most obnoxious and odious teen character I’ve seen in about fifteen movies now, and sadly, there’s not much about Wicked Little Things that compensated me for having to tolerate her presence onscreen.

A new widow (Lori Heuring), left destitute by her husband’s death, is forced to move to a really unfortunate house in the Pennsylvania woods.  She’s accompanied by her two daughters, Douchebag Chick (Scout Taylor-Compton) and the obligatory little kid whose complete lack of a self-preservation instinct will inevitably lead her to make friends with the monsters (Chloë Grace Moretz).  The monsters in question are a group of undead grade-schoolers who, at some point in the unspecified past, were all killed in an explosion in the mine they worked in.  Now they’re wandering around the hills seeking revenge on the kin of the mine’s owner.

Here’s the problem: kids in pancake makeup aren’t actually scary.  I mean, clearly there are enough people with an irrational fear of children to support an entire horror movie cliche built around the lazy-ass idea that a child sharing screen space with splashing blood is automatically terrifying regardless of how it’s filmed, but I feel like they could at least have made a little more effort with the cinematography.  Even though you know exactly who and what they are, the kids actually sort of manage to be scary when they’re not onscreen; when they are, you’re just like “Oh look, child actors in pancake makeup.”

There are places where Wicked Little Things is pretty effective, owing largely to the ability of the adult actors to convince us – in spite of all available evidence – that something frightening is going on.  I commend it as well for its admirable lack of reliance on cheap jump scares (there were only a handful, well below par for this type of movie).  The gore was about in proportion, what there was of it; it’s hard to count zombie kids eating raw pork as gore when it mostly just looks like they went too heavy on the barbecue sauce.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  I’d have liked to give it more than that, but every time I started thinking it might be a three-star movie, my screen would suddenly be full of pancake-makeup-wearing moppets earworming me with that annoying “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go” song.  I don’t know, maybe if you think kids are scary then you’ll find the movie scarier than I did.  All in all, it wasn’t a bad movie; just not a terribly good one.

Also, Douchebag Chick.  I might actually have been willing to tack on that third star if she’d died horribly, just as a reward, but unfortunately she lived through the movie.

Absentia (2011)

Posted: August 26, 2012 in 2 stars, Reviews
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I was legitimately surprised to find out that Absentia had a budget of $70K.  That’s higher than I would have expected considering that it looks like it was filmed with someone’s cell phone and sounds like everyone is ad-libbing their lines because at the last minute the scriptwriter had finals and had to dog-sit his mom’s Pomeranian and couldn’t deliver a final product.  There’s exactly one person – Katie Parker, playing Callie- who comes across as an actual actress in a role for which she is receiving a paycheck that does not consist of beer or the cancellation of favors previously owed to the filmmaker.

Still, Absentia is not ineffective.  Tricia (Courtney Bell), who is awfully pregnant for someone whose husband has been missing for seven years, has just put in to have him declared dead.  Her flaky drug-addicted sister (Parker) shows up to give her support.  Just as she’s about to move out and start a new life, however, she starts having weird, genuinely creepy visions of her husband – who seems to be displeased that she’s moving on.  Meanwhile, Callie keeps having strange and unsettling things happen to her when she jogs through a spooky concrete tunnel.

This being a horror movie, she keeps jogging through it anyway, and freakish events ensue.  In time it becomes clear that something is living in (or around, or below, or in an alternate dimension beside) the tunnel, and for some reason it likes to collect things – and people.

Absentia is probably never going to reach cult classic status, but it was interesting and well-done and held my attention, which is more than I can say for the four or five other horror movies I watched the first few minutes of this weekend.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  That may be partly my own bias, because I don’t love creature features in general, but what are reviews if not expressions of subjective bias?  Absentia was a pretty good movie, but not a particularly memorable one, or one I’d tell people to run out and see.  If you, like me, have gone through pretty much every other horror movie on Netflix Instant that does not actually involve clowns, I feel comfortable telling you to go ahead and watch this one.  You won’t be eternally grateful for the twist of fate that steered you in Absentia‘s direction, but you won’t walk away hating humanity either, and in this genre that’s something.

Wake Wood (2011)

Posted: February 18, 2012 in 2 stars, Reviews
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So you’re watching a movie and it basically goes like this:

1.  Don’t bring your kid back from the dead, dumbass.

2.  No, I’m serious.  That never turns out well.

3.  You see?  What did I tell you?  Why have no parents in the history of horror ever had as much sense as the ones in “The Monkey’s Paw” who wished their zombie kid away again?  Don’t people have to read that in grade school anymore?

4.  No, I said don’t bring people back from the dead, dumbass who is unable to learn from experience.

5.  And now you’re going to – Jesus Christ. I wash my hands of you, you nutcase.

Quick: which movie are you watching?  Pet Sematary or Wake Wood?

Really, I’d tell you the plot of Wake Wood but if you’ve seen Pet Sematary you’re pretty much familiar.  Eva Birthistle and her gratifyingly hot husband Aidan Gillen lose their nine-year-old daughter to a freak dog attack.  Trying to start over, they move to the small village of Wake Wood.  Strange Goings-On lead them to the discovery that the citizens of the village can bring people back from the dead – but only for three days, so you can say goodbye.  Sadly, they cannot guarantee that the aforementioned dead will return quite right.

Wake Wood is one of the first movies to come out of the resurrected Hammer Studios.  It’s not nearly as satisfactory as one would have hoped from that beloved studio.  The sad truth is that Wake Wood is derivative and unoriginal, offering nothing over the book version of Pet Sematary and nothing over the movie but Aidan Gillen’s glorious ass in jeans.   It doesn’t even have Fred Gwynne getting slaughtered by a toddler.

It wasn’t a bad movie.  It was a little slow in places, but the acting was good and the cinematography was moody and atmospheric.  The ending did not, as endings too often do, let the movie down with  a thud.  It’s just that there was nothing about it that didn’t leave me going “Yep, seen that before.”

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars. If I’d never seen Pet Sematary I probably would have liked it better, though I didn’t like the fact that the harm against animals seemed gratuitous even for the animal-hating horror industry.  It would have been much better if the filmmakers had just photoshopped Aidan Gillen and Eva Birthistle over Dale Midkiff and Denise Crosby and re-released Pet Sematary instead.

Here is a thing that bugs me: why are movie cannibals (Hannibal Lecter excepted, of course) all such sloppy eaters?  I mean, seriously.  Like, I get that it’s a foot, but you can’t eat it with a knife and fork, really?  And wipe your mouth once in a while?  Having your cannibals devour human flesh like pigs at a trough is not actually more disturbing than having them devour it a little more neatly, and the trough thing grosses me out for reasons you probably don’t want me focusing on while you’re trying to disturb me with cannibalism.

Anyway.  “The Washingtonians” centers around the idea that Washington and various other of the founding fathers were actually heinous cannibals.  The Franks family finds this out by accident when the father inherits his grandmother’s house with various historical artifacts inside – such as a fork made out of bone and a note from Washington saying something to the effect of “I will eat your children and make forks out of their bones!  Because I don’t have enough forks.  How is it that forks always disappear?  I swear they’re like socks in the dryer.”

(I can’t help but think that the plotline would have had more shock value thirty or forty years ago.  If there’s an American alive today who would put baby-eating past a politician, I don’t think we’ve met.)

Anyway, finding the letter puts the Franks in danger from a bewigged, weirdly powdered secret society sworn to protect the secret of the cannibalism, and things sort of deteriorate from there.

The Franks family is comprised of a wife I felt really sorry for (Venus Terzo), an annoying husband (Johnathon Schaech), and the whiniest, most timorous offspring I have seen in I don’t even know how long (Julia Tortolano).  My god, that kid irritated me.  By ten minutes into the show I wanted to lock her in a dark basement full of clown dolls until she either died of fright or kicked open the door, newly equipped with a spine and a chainsaw and ready to mow down zombies.

“The Washingtonians” is an episode of the made-for-cable Masters of Horror series, so it really wouldn’t be fair of me to fault it for the microbudget makeup and effects, or the bargain-basement actors (with the exception of Hey-It’s-That-Guy extraordinaire Saul Rubinek, whom I love in pretty much anything he does), but honestly those things really do diminish the enjoyment value of the episode.  Seriously, I’ve seen better production values in Supernatural episodes, so don’t tell me it can’t be done.

Further guilt about judging the episode harshly is brought on by the fact that it was directed by Peter Medak, otherwise known as the director of one of the few movies I will unstintingly give five stars to,  horror masterpiece The Changeling.  Either it’s amazing what a budget can do or Medak was just doing the paycheck walk through this one.  Either way, about the best that can be said for “The Washingtonians” is that it’s unobjectionable and mildly entertaining if you can get past the fact that not a single watchable character appears onscreen until Saul Rubinek shows up to save the day in more ways than one.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  It’s okay.  It’s moderately amusing in a sort of lukewarm way. I wouldn’t watch it again, but it’s not terrible.  It was an interesting idea that fell down in the execution and then, as it was lying in the street, got run over by a clown car full of unimpressive actors and peed on by the Pomeranian of low-budget scripts.

Also, it turns out that the guy who plays Sam was in Cats and Dogs, a thing for which I am judging him in this world and God will judge him in the next.  Just saying.

Ninjas vs Vampires juuust misses greatness by, say, 35 minutes.

I didn’t know anything about it going in and was, to put it mildly, not expecting much; but the movie got on my good side in the very first scene, which was a vampire slaughtering a girl wearing an “I ♥ Edward” t-shirt, and for a while it just went uphill from there.  The main action starts out with…

…Okay, let me see how much of this I can keep straight with almost no cast pictures on IMDB.  I’m so awful with names that I just don’t even try anymore.

Anyway.  The action starts out with the lead guy, who is probably Aaron (Jay Saunders), proposing relationshiphood to his best friend, whose name may or may not be Ann (Melissa McConnell, possibly, but whoever it is has a thankless role that largely consists of pretending to forget what everyone was talking about two seconds before).  The proposition does not go well, so it’s probably just as well that they’re abruptly attacked by the most hilariously scene-chewing vampires since Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter.  But!  Suddenly they’re saved by ninjas!  Well, sort of ninjas.  It’s two white frat guys, a female vampire who doesn’t drink human blood for some reason, and a witch who looks like her role ought to be just to stand there and remind us of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But they do martial arts a lot.

Wanting to figure out what’s going on, Aaron winds up hooking up with the sort-of-ninjas just in time to get sucked into some sort of ill-defined war between them and the Vampire Overlord (P.J. Megaw, who manages to recite the most absolutely inane dialogue in a way that… well, okay, it’s still wooden.  But it’s highly glossed and beautifully carved wood, wood that gleams in the lamplight as if to say “Look what an awesome example of the woodcarver’s art I am.”  It is wood with no higher goal than to be the very best wood it can be, and it does a pretty damn fine job).  His sidekick, I swear to God, is like The Vampire Snooki.  I love her.  The whole movie could have been about her and I would have been happy.

Aaron, as I say, hooks up with the ninjas, manages to become a ninja himself through virtue of some unconvincing special effects on the witch’s part, and follows them through a number of ridiculous fight scenes and glorious geek in-jokes until the vampires kill one of the ninjas and kidnap Aaron’s girlfriend, kick-starting the Final Battle.  I don’t know, it’s not one of those movies you can describe.  It has to be experienced.

On most levels the movie succeeds beyond the wildest expectations that could reasonably be attached to its $15,000 budget.  The acting is a sight better than I’ve seen in a lot of movies with ten times the money to blow.  The special effects are less heinous than might be expected.  The jokes are actually funny.  The plot is inane, but if you are expecting deep plot from a movie called Ninjas vs Vampires then I do not know what to tell you.  The real problem is that at a run time of 89 minutes, the movie outstays its welcome.  If it were a 30-minute short then it would be an invaluable gem, partly because there wouldn’t have been time for the obligatory Scenes of Great Pathos which are frankly almost never a good idea in comedy and don’t work here either.  To be honest, I’m not sure why it wasn’t a 30-minute short; it’s not as if it was going to open on four screens in every cineplex in the country.

Despite its mild drag, though, the movie is great fun, and definitely worth a watch if only for the first 30 minutes or so.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  It would have earned another one if half the length and all of the Srs Bizns scenes had been edited out.  Still, I was entertained enough by it that I might try to track down Ninjas vs Zombies, the first film in the franchise, which is sadly on neither Netflix nor Amazon Instant Video.


Paranormal Activity has more in common with The Blair Witch Project than just the found-footage conceit.  Like BWP, PA has exactly one effective moment, right at the very end; the rest of it consists of twelve thousand four hundred and six grinding hours of tedium and motion sickness, so that by the time the effective moment rolled around I was so pathetically glad to see it that the effectiveness of the moment was lost in my appreciation of its effectiveness, if that makes sense. It’s hard to be scared when you’re sitting there going “OH THANK CHRIST AN EFFECTIVE PIECE OF FILM-MAKING AT LAST, HOW DID THAT EVEN ACCIDENTALLY HAPPEN.”

This is an old enough movie that you probably know the plot.  Smug Marrieds – or, in this case, Smug Living-Togethers – Katie and Micah (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) take to carrying a camcorder around with them, even under circumstances where it is wildly improbable that any reasoning human being would be carrying a camcorder, in order to record the bumps in the night they’ve been hearing.  The bumps turn out to be a demon who is righteously pissed off by the blatant attempt to turn his existence into an episode of Jersey Shore – as, bless, who wouldn’t be – and disaster ensues.  Sort of.  Eventually.

Well, okay, boredom ensues.  But it’s disastrous boredom.  More like ennui.

Nothing happens for enormous chunks of PA.  I spent a great deal of time going “Yep, there they are sleeping again,” and “I’m not going to have to watch douchebag sex, am I?  I don’t want to watch douchebag sex.”  That’s the first problem with PA, and the most serious (other than the fact that the characters are so utterly unsympathetic that I couldn’t even sustain interest in them long enough to hope they’d die) – it was made by people who don’t understand that suspense is not an end in and of itself.  Suspense has to have a payoff or it dies fast.  An audience in suspense is an audience who expects something noteworthy to happen at any moment; an audience who has been trained by the last half hour of the movie to expect that nothing interesting is going to happen in the near future is an audience in about as much suspense as someone watching laundry tumble in the dryer.

No, the interesting thing about PA, to the extent that anything can be salvaged from the wreck, isn’t the haunted house.  It’s the feminist subtext, almost certainly inadvertent.  It’s not bad enough that Katie has a malevolent supernatural entity out to get her.  On top of that, she’s saddled with a  boyfriend who patronizes her, trivializes both her fears and her boundaries, and dismisses her completely when he’s not whining for her attention like a cranky five-year-old.  Micah does not even make a token attempt to hide the fact that he thinks Katie is a pretty piece of furniture whose function is to dispense sex and adoration on demand.  He constantly refers to the house as his house, even though they both live there; even more disturbing is when he’s ranting, righteously indignant, about things messing with “my house and my girlfriend” without a single change in inflection to indicate that he sees a difference between the two things.  They’re both his property.  The demon’s bad for Katie’s mental health, but I’m not sure it doesn’t take a decided back seat to the utter toxicity of her relationship.

Either way, it’s an interesting commentary on how hard it is, as a woman in a patriarchal stronghold, to reclaim your power if no one will take you seriously long enough to concede that you might have had any power to begin with. The demon thinks it owns Katie.  Micah thinks he owns her.  She’s caught in the middle in a way that would be heart-wrenching if she weren’t so intolerable, and still manages to be icky and faintly disturbing.

So what’s the verdict?  I don’t actually know what the purpose of PA was.  If it’s a feminist allegory, it’s very well done, though it’s one of those movies that only becomes interesting in the abstract after you’re done with the horrific tedium of sitting through it.  If it was a horror movie, it was an epic failure on pretty much every level.  Either way, it only gets two stars, and only the last thirty seconds or so got the rating up even that high.