In a Hollywood obsessed with sequels, here is a film that incorporates its
own sequel. This has a script that peaks only to drop dead, but rises again
like a phoenix to take its rightful place, definitely higher than we thought
it would be. The first half of the movie raises a conflict and, for all purposes,
resolves it, and then does an about turn to dig deeper into the conflict.
Robert Zemeckis, the director, must have thought that his first installment
wouldn't really have the audience clamoring for an encore, so he clubbed the
two to salvage some reputations. Yes, there are a few of them under scrutiny
here. After all, no one remembers Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in the
same movie before this one. That makes us wonder, why not? The two are very
similar in their approaches, in that they are both very spontaneous, and both
carry the unmistakable aura of being stars.
Now, if you ever imagined seeing these two together in a movie, a horror movie
would have been the last thing on your mind. A taut drama or a romantic-comedy
would have been a more like it. Now, not attributing it to the fact that this
is a horror movie, the chemistry between these two characters doesn't work.
With characters that seem to unfold in isolation, for the most part, it doesn't
quite strike you that one goes with the other. And, I guess, that says it all.
These two play the Spencers, Norman and Claire. Norman is a doctor, and spends
a considerable amount of his time on research. With their daughter off to a
hostel, Claire finds herself with too much time on her hands, and too few things
to tend to. And she's had an accident a year ago, and is yet to put it behind
her. With her new neighbours being strangely reclusive, she can't find company.
What she finds, though, is a conspiracy theory and a ghost, or that's what she
You are then subjected to a series of eerie happenings, with the director employing
the shock technique to good effect. What you are actually treated to is a succession
of surprises, with synchronized loud music to reinforce them. It does give you
the creeps, but in no time you'd start anticipating them.
Claire sees a shrink, but she finds a better option in a book on witchcraft.
She invokes the ghost, only for her to realize that her husband's had an affair
with the girl whose ghost it is. This is quite shocking, for all the wrong reasons.
You wonder if you were taken through it all only to end up in just another marital
glitch. Well, this passes soon, as Claire plays the forgiving wife.
To be very frank, you aren't still sure if there is a really a ghost around,
and there is every chance that the script would have us believe that it was
just one of those psychic phenomena that struck Claire. That being the case,
it ought to be all over by now. Why are we still talking about the story? That's
because there are a few more things to the Norman character than we know. And,
they are worth knowing, too, if only for those few more thrills.
In fact, there isn't anything apart from anticipation that keeps you glued to
the seat. Not that you'd want more from a horror movie, ordinarily, but from
a film directed by the same guy who did Forrest Gump, and with a high
profile cast, you'd expect more to the characters than there actually is. Pfeiffer
hogs most of the footage, and that leaves a cold Ford who just can't make his
presence felt. Pfeiffer, though, does a neat job.
So, the movie may give you the perfect creeps by the dozen, but somehow doesn't
give you any thing to savor, well after it is over.