In this suspense thriller directed by Adam Mason, we embark on a journey through the daily lives of a typical family in the aftermath of a burglary of their home.
While on vacation, Aaron Miller (Jeremy Sisto), his wife Beth (Kate Ashfield) and their two kids Marley (Ryan Simpkins) and Max (Ty Simpkins) are all unknowingly horribly violated as an intruder, known only to us as “Hangman”, played by Eric Michael Cole, invades their home, and their privacy, and completely trashes their beautiful house, leaving no corner or surface untouched.
When they return, though shocked and completely unsettled, they clean up the mess, call for a security system, change locks on windows and doors and try to move on living a normal life.
What they don’t know, is while they were gone, and mister wonderful is rummaging through their house, he has put little spy cams all over, in every room…bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, kitchen…everywhere. Not only that, he has taken refuge in their attic and made quite the little home for himself up there. He has a whole video system set up so he can view his cameras and watch their every move.
He comes downstairs during the day when they are gone, either at work or school. He eats their food, watches their movies, even the home movies. He uses their toothbrushes.
He even comes down from the attic in the middle of the night, which the attic entrance is in the master bedroom closet so when he comes out he’s right there in the master bedroom. He watches the parents sleep…in the creepiest way I might add.
Then he really starts trying to toy with these people. He leaves juice out on the counter overnight, trying to get the son in trouble (he drinks straight from the jug and spits back into it, we later see the family drinking from the jug, it’s just disgusting), he steals a houseguest’s lipstick and perfume to put it on the husband’s shirt to frame him for an affair, he indirectly rats out the daughter for a bad report card. But, the worst one is that he drugs the mom and then it’s implied that he rapes her while she’s incapacitated. That’s just horrific.
Eventually, he makes noise and they finally notice. (Finally!!)
He kills the parents in a very anti-climactic way and then leaves.
At the end, we see him at the airport, waiting as a family exits their vehicle.
Now, this is how he has been finding his victims. These people park their cars, he waits until they leave, breaks into the vehicle, gets their home address from their car’s GPS and then goes to their house and sets up his playground. Once he’s had his fun he kills and moves one.
And he doesn’t get caught.
So, I thought the whole handy cam filming idea went out the window with The Blair Witch Project in 1998 but apparently, we tried to revive it in 2015. Now, you’re either going to really like this movie or really hate it. I can’t put it any other way.
While the whole handheld filming thing can tend to give me motion sickness (I had a real hard time with Blair Witch) this one wasn’t too bad. Most of the film is like watching surveillance footage. There is a little of our killer holding his own camera and filming himself but, that adds something to the film being that we are seeing everything from his point of view.
The interesting thing about this film is that we are forced to become the villain in a very personal way. WE invade these people WITH him. It gives a very creepy, disgusting feeling to watching the film. I almost felt like I was doing something wrong while watching this.
We get a glimpse into the demented mind of not really so much a killer but, more of a narcissist and the ultimate turmoil of insecurity thrusting its need for control upon other living things. There’s a need for power that slowly starts to emerge from our perpetrator just as there is a growing need for thrill seeking as he becomes more and more brazen, engaging in more risky behavior as time goes on.
This movie can also leave you thinking about things like…who has access to your car say, when you valet park or who has access to your privacy when you let service men into your home. It makes you wonder how secure your privacy really is? I mean, with all the technology nowadays and all the satellites roaming about in space and expert hackers everywhere you turn and IT computer experts in almost every company building, is anything private anymore? I mean, even your basic information on your job application now gets sent or stored over a computer, online…it’s digital somehow most likely…that’s not very secure. And you hear about company breeches all the time, especially at the holidays, people’s bank accounts get stolen because of hacking RFIDs…I know of cases where people make fake keypads and card readers for ATMs and install cameras to record PINs. This guy just took all that into a family’s house…and he was clever as all get out about where to hide these spy cams.
Now, I am a VERY observant person when it comes to my surroundings, especially my own house. I know, without a doubt, if something has been moved (yes, I am a little OCD…Okay, okay, maybe a tad more than a little). The fact that NONE of the members of this family questioned ANY of the weirdness in the house CREEPS ME OUT. I notice if the remote on the table gets bumped by the dog while I’m out of the room. And they don’t notice as huge loogie in their OJ??? Am I the only person that looks at what I eat and drink BEFORE I put it in my mouth???
So, anyways, the voyeuristic value in the film definitely gave it the creepy suspense factor however, there weren’t any real scares or terror moments, nothing that I thought WOW! at, and unfortunately the ending left me feeling a little disappointed. I would have liked more killing in the movie if they were going to let the killer get away and move on to another family. The anticlimactic ending just made all of what we just witnessed seem so pointless, almost like it wasn’t even worth him doing it.
So, to be honest, I watch a lot of true crime. I also have an education in psychology and criminology. I can usually understand why a criminal or killer does what they do, even if, to society, it just seems wicked out there. This guy, I just couldn’t quite get all the way there. I found bits and pieces of reasoning but, it just didn’t all come together really well for me.
I can’t say I would watch this movie again. If it was on TV and there was nothing better on I MIGHT watch it, unless there were commercials, then it’s totally not worth it. Likewise, it’s hard for me to give a real recommendation on this one because of how it was made…it’s difficult to say whether someone would enjoy this or not. I leave you with this review and to your own devices on this one.