Wednesday, November 09, 2016



From IMDB:

Tess is a teenage girl diagnosed with identity disorder, however that may not be the problem after all. Lucy, a teenage girl who's in the same town, and around the same age. The unlikely pair meet in a way that so few people actually understand, and usually misinterpret.

Anguish (2015) on IMDb
Reviews 10 user | 43 critic

From Rotten Tomatoes:

A new girl in a quiet town, Tess (Ryan Simpkins) tries to manage her psychosis while adjusting to her new life with her mom (Annika Marks). After stumbling upon the shrine of Lucy (Amberley Gridley), a hit and run victim, Tess finds herself overwhelmed by hallucinations of the dead girl and starts to question her sanity again. When the spirit possesses Tess's mind and soul, mother and daughter are at a loss for where to turn next for salvation: religion or medicine? Both institutions have failed them to date but faith leads them to the house of Sarah (Karina Logue), Lucy's mother, who has been despondent since the accident. All together with time working against them, Sarah is desperate to believe that Lucy is still alive in Tess but neither parent wants to give up on their daughter. Now that she understands what is happening to her, ultimately Tess must decide whether she wants to keep fighting or succumb to her affliction.

Rating: NR
Genre: Horror
Directed By: Sonny Mallhi
Written By: Sonny Mallhi
In Theaters: Dec 18, 2015 Limited
On DVD: Apr 5, 2016
Runtime: 91 minutes
Studio: Anguish Film

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 10
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

AUDIENCE SCORE 25% liked it
Average Rating: 2.4/5
User Ratings: 239

This is Tess she isn't like other teenagers. She hears and sees things. 

This isn't your typical thriller/ horror film...

So Anguish, not a new movie it had a limited release in the US last year before going to DVD and VOD. Written and Directed by Sonny Mallhi, this is his directorial debut after acting as producer on such films as The Lake House (2006), The Strangers (2008) and Oldboy (2013). If you're a fan of the genre you've either already seen this or have surely heard about it or even read the many, many reviews written about it. I am not a fan of the genre and didn't know anything about this film until I saw the trailer for it a few days ago. 

That is a picture of Lucy. She died in an accident. 

The trailer does a very good job of leading you on to believe that this is just another run-of-the-mill horror movie about demonic possession. 

Anyway, I'm not going to go into any details or background about this movie so I'm going to go direct to what I liked and didn't fancy much. 

No that's not a strange party game happening inside there.

What I liked.
  • The story. It's interesting. Different. Not perfect but different.
  • The cast especially the Ryan Simpkins who plays Tess. This movie isn't heavy on the dialogue but what it lacks is made up by Ryan's performance. Very subtle and dramatic. 
  • The atmosphere. The lack or maybe refusal to use the tired old horror genre gimmicks and tricks to scare you. Instead this movie relies on building the tension with a slow visual pace accompanied by score and sound design. It works pretty well.
  • The camera work was quite delightful. 
  • The twists. When you've watched enough horror/thriller movies you sort of get a sense of what's about to happen. You can guess how things might turn out or will happen. This movie I think takes advantage of that. 
  • The all female cast was a refreshing change. And with that refreshing change came an interesting difference when compared to other films of the genre, the way the situations is dealt with. 
And that's not a loving hug that she's receiving. 

What I didn't fancy much. 
  • Right at the start they state that this is inspired by true events and also a statement about how mental illness is approached and treated in the U.S., this of course leaves you with a few preconceived ideas about what the story is about. So yes, Ryan does suffer from some form of mental illness but then when she gets possessed by Lucy (Amberley Gridley) and then we hear from Lucy's mom (Karina Logue) tell Tess's mom (Annika Marks) about how when she was younger she used to move a lot because of her missionary parents and that in India she witnessed a woman get possessed by spirits of the dead in order to give closure to those still living, I sort of wondered what the director is trying to say. What is the takeaway message or moral of this movie especially when you consider that opening statement in the beginning and the way the story unravels? I found that to be a little confusing.
  • The pace. I sort of like it and hate it. This movie if you're not prepared for it, if you were expecting it to be like a lot of other films in the genre that was recently released then you may find it a little odd or maybe even disappointing. You might even find it a little tedious and dull because of its deliberate pacing. So be warned and be prepared. 
Closets and narrow hallways seem to be a favorite place that possessed people like to hang out in. 

Anguish is an unusual movie for the genre, it leads you on thinking you're going to get the same twists or the same plots and solutions but it doesn't. It feels like an Indie movie in many ways but there's that supernatural/horror/thriller element to it and also the different way the the characters and the story eventually resolves the situation. Anguish isn't for everyone. It certainly isn't for those looking for the usually supernatural/horror/thriller fare but if you're willing to give it a chance and are prepared for something different you might find yourself entertained. Anguish gets a decent 2.8 out of 5 from me.

Check out the trailer for Anguish below.



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