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A family moves into the house that was the mother’s home when she was a kid and lived as an orphan there in the orphanage. While planning to re-open a small orphanage, the feeling that something is wrong with the house gets stronger. Maybe there are still inhabitants of old who want to play games with the new dwellers? Maybe the kid with the mask wants to have revenge for the insults and bullying it was subjected to years ago? Then suddenly, during a party, Simon, the family’s own kid, disappears without a trace, and the mother suspects the house to have drawn him in. After months of looking for him, a final desperate effort to call on the ghosts of the place reveals the secret.

“Guilermo del Toro presents” works fine with me, plus the film got a bunch of rave reviews while on the festival circus and probably also on limited release around Europe and the US. I cannot say much more than: it does what is supposed to do, create an atmosphere of uncertainty, and fear, and horror at times. The complete lack of traces on the boy’s whereabouts gets the parents more desperate every day, and causes them to get estranged, losing faith in each other. It is the woman who finally accepts the possibility of the house being haunted and the boy being abducted into a parallel world, but she does not understand why that was and why he does not get in touch with her. The setting for the final showdown, where she is re-creating her childhood setting orphanage, trying to lure the ghosts of the past over into the present so that she can at least ask or see what has been happening, is of frantic intensity. It is surely very hard to resolve this satisfactorily from a film-makers perspective, but the authors find an excellent twist, establishing a credible and straightforward story-line, but at the same time holding on to the ghosts and spirits that haunted the film all the way through. A nice chill, well done.

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