Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Horror: The Presence

2010, Tom Provost -- download

Why is it that a movie chooses to take something so beautiful, given another tone of music could be a tourism commercial for the north-west, and make is terrifying via the Hitchcockian music. A leisurely flyby up a lazy river takes us to lakes seemingly untouched by mankind and eventually to a house on an island.  It's an old old old house that must have been very expensive in it's day considering the tight bead board that made up the walls.  As we wander through the house we see a single tenant, a lone man standing strangely.... watching, staring, glooming. And then we meet Mira Sorvino, unaware of him as she goes about her day. She is comfortable in the house, it's oddities and loneliness is hers. The figure just watches her but she is almost completely unaware of him.

The arrival of Mira's boyfriend upsets the balance. Not only is the spooky watcher there but something else is. Can ghosts be haunted? Are the ghosts on different levels from other ghosts?  What allows one ghost interact with someone while another can just watch?  Why are some quiet while others are more malicious?  None of those questions are answered but they are fascinating none the less.  This is no mere ghost story as someone discovers a presence in their midst and reacts to it, but an exploration from the other side of things. It gives us a deeper look into the world of the other side but does little to help us understand it.

The movie does a brilliant job of exploring what an outside force can do to influence you from believing your place of respite and escape can turn into a place of fear and paranoia. I remember as a kid, staying in the country at the old house my great grandfather built. Most nights were beautiful all about the lack of electricity, darkness so thick you could wave at it in front of your face and a silence that permeated. But other nights, your imagination got hold of you and there were spirits in the wood just waiting for you take a wrong turn on the way to the outhouse. The movie does a brilliant job of introducing what can change our mind about what is in the darkness.