The Diabolical-ly misleading synopsis

I’m going to be completely honest with you and tell you that I decided tdiabolicalo watch this movie because of the fact that the lead actress is Ali Larter, an actress I adore. For those of you who were fans of Heroes back before the failed reboot may know her as Nikki/Jessica/Tracy/a whole other slew of characters or, for those fellow horror buffs out there, as Clear Rivers from the first two Final Destination films. I went into this expecting a poltergeist-fueled horror film with things that go bump in the night and voices coming through the TV.

I did not, however, get what I was expecting at all. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to even say about this movie. I think my main issue with this movie was that I got something completely different than what I was expecting, so I can’t even judge this with an unbiased view point. As it turned out, this was not a horror film at all, but a science fiction film.

Once I realized that I had actually gotten myself into a sci-fi film, I seriously considered turning off the movie and starting another one, but at that point I had only 20 minutes left in the film and I had committed far too much time to just give up.

The film starts out intense enough with our main character Madison (Larter) waking up to a noise in her house after falling asleep at the dining room table. After checking things out very briefly, she sits back down to continue the work she was doing on her laptop only to be interrupted by a disgustingly gruesome apparition that looks like a combination of a grown-man-sized newborn baby and a burn victim. To me this boded well for this movie.

I was severely mistaken.

We find out that Madison is a single, widowed mother of two who has been trying to figure out what exactly has been terrorizing them for some time now. She has brought in paranormal investigators, priests, clairvoyants and paranormal psychologists, to no avail. It quickly becomes clear that her children are also aware that there is something unnatural going on in their home.

Her son, Jacob (Max Rose), has been in trouble for beating one of his fellow classmates unconscious, and it becomes increasingly clear that Jacob has severe anger issues that he is unable to control.  It is alluded that his father also had problems with rage, and hints at him being abusive to Madison. Jacob has been receiving tutoring–presumably because he was suspended from school for his outburst–and we quickly find out that Madison is romantically involved with his tutor Miguel (Wilmer Calderon).

I will say that when I was still under the impression that this was a horror movie about poltergeists rather than a sci-fi movie about teleportation, I was excited at the prospect of a horror movie actually addressing the theory that poltergeists are not actually ghosts or spirits at all but are a form of negative energy. There are so many possibilities to marry sci-fi and horror with the actual lore of poltergeists. This movie, however, did not quite hit the mark.

If you like sci-fi (which I normally do), it is worth a watch.  The acting was very impressive, and I assume that if you go into it knowing more of what to expect than I did, it is a pretty good movie. For the sake of this blog, however, it was a dud.

What are your opinions on the mixing of sci-fi and horror? Are there any movies you’ve seen that have done it well?