Julia (Keri Russell) is a teacher who has recently moved back to her home town to be with her brother, Paul (Jesse Plemmons) after her father's death. One of her students, Lucas ( Jeremy T. Thomas) is starting to display signs of abuse, but what Julia uncovers about his family is much, much worse.
I had meant to see this in theaters, but then the bad reviews gave me pause. It's been available on HBO Max for ages and now 84 years later I'm finally giving this a go.
Let's say we split a film in two. On one half, we have atmosphere, and on the other half we have character. This film does everything right with atmosphere. It's dirty, gloomy, and oh so creepy. The special effects for the creature are very good and they take their time showing it in full to build tension. There's even a few effective jump scares - one that got me as much as I'm ashamed to admit it.
Then there's character. This is where the film flops and it's so frustrating considering how much else they got right. The characters are flimsy. The film requires a lot of adults to do Very Dumb Things™ to move the plot along. They also touch on abuse Julia and Paul suffered as children, and I expected that to be some sort of catalyst for the two siblings, but it never comes back. It's just mentioned in passing. The Native American presence in this film is severely lacking considering what the story is based on.
So is this for you? If you already have an HBO Max subscription and want to see something creepy, then give this a go. It's not great, but not terrible. I just wouldn't recommend spending money on it.