It’s time for another sad film. This one ranks up there with After.Life and that’s not a good thing. It’s a fairly strange film that doesn’t know if it wants to be a supernatural horror or just a plain ole snoozefest. It tries to find a balance between the two genres, but doesn’t do a particularly good job at either one. Ah well, at least the title can be true now. We were innocent to the fact that a horror film could be utterly boring while still trying for jump scares before this film. (Well…..that may not be entirely true) Let us dive into this review!
Giddens is offered a job as a caretaker. She will look after a rich guy’s two kids since he wants nothing to do with them. He likes being a single bachelor and doesn’t want kids cramping his style. He tried hiring someone else a while back, but she died so he needs a replacement. Giddens is appropriately reluctant to take on this task, but does so against her better judgment. Once she arrives at the estate, she finds that it is not an ordinary house. Ghosts seem to lurk about and many secrets are kept. The worst part is the fact that the two kids are possessed by ghosts at random points during the day. These ghosts belong to the bad influence who died and the other caretaker..who also died. Can Giddens cure these kids or will she have to head back home?
The premise doesn’t leave much room for optimism does it? It doesn’t even sound like a good film on paper and that’s before the execution drives you up the wall. Giddens isn’t a good protagonist and that should be the first warning bell. She always beats around the bush and lets the kids have their way with her. One of them tries to choke her and she only half heartedly resists. Luckily the land lady happened to show up. Giddens only has one good idea in the whole film and that is when she decides to leave. Unfortunately, she makes the mistake of turning back to fight the ghost one last time and it convinces her not to leave. Ah well, I guess listening to evil ghosts is a thing now. Her final plan of staying alone with the main antagonist to talk things over is also just as silly.
Miles is the host for the main villain. (Peter) He returns home under tricky circumstances as he was expelled from his school. The school didn’t say why they expelled him and Miles won’t say either. It’s implied that Peter influenced Miles to act in a rather course manner which forced the school to make a move. Miles isn’t concerned or upset about this though because now he can mess with Giddens. Whether he is possessed or not, the film makes it a point to say that he is not a good kid. He hides letters, plays pranks, and seems to enjoy making Giddens have a tough time of things.
Flora is the other kid and she’s supposed to be the nice member of the group. That may be true, but she has a tendency to disappear from time to time. She goes to a small place in the middle of nowhere to just stand around. Heavy rain showers won’t stop her either and she likes to pretend that she doesn’t hear the horror tropes calling after her. One of the ghosts yells several times to get her attention, but only the viewers notice. I can’t say that she was likable as she simply acted too oblivious the whole time.
The only reasonable character is the house maid. Unfortunately, she wasn’t much help either at times as she would take the side of the kids and didn’t like to talk about what had happened earlier. To an extent, it’s hard to blame her though as the kids were always nice and proper around her. She is one of the only characters to survive the whole ordeal. Sometimes, standing on the sidelines and not creating attention is the only way to live in these films, but I can’t say it’s the most heroic way to do things either. Still, leaving was probably the best decision that she could make.
All right, the film sounds boring, but is it really worthy of a 0? Absolutely!! First off, the fact that the villain inhabits Miles is an excuse to have him make advances on Giddens, which is quite disturbing. Keep in mind that he is a little boy and that he does succeed once and then again at the end. It makes for some really cringe inducing scenes that destroy the film. Even if the film had actually been semi decent, this would have thrown it back to the gutter. We don’t need those kinds of plots in our movies, lets keep them in oblivion.
The film’s backstory also makes no sense. The caretaker was apparently a nice and respectable person, but then she randomly falls into a twisted relationship with Peter. Apparently she liked the fact that he was a bad person and wanted to be treated badly. The film wanted to make everyone crazy in some way or form, but the change in personality was way too sudden. It continues when Giddens also starts to go crazy to the point where you’re supposed to wonder if the whole thing wasn’t just her being delusional. To clarify, the film happened, but the spirits may have just been things that she imagined. Most of the stuff that they did didn’t affect the real world in any way. The main point of suspicion would be how Miles acts at times, but it could all just be stuff that he learned from Peter.
I don’t think the ghost of Peter ever actually breaks any windows or opens doors either. Usually Giddens would just see him and fly into a panic. If it was just a delusion, then this would make sense. I personally prefer the supernatural elements to be real though so that doesn’t do the film any favors either. The ending is dark as well to remind you just what kind of film this is. Even kids aren’t safe apparently. The only bright spot here is the fact that the film isn’t very long so you don’t have to be looking at your watch too often. The best advice I can give you is simply not to watch the film. Lets face it, there are better flicks out there.
Overall, The Innocents is a stinker I’m afraid. You should forget about it and move on. This movie simply couldn’t do anything right and while it may have been trying to be clever with the title, it just reminds you that the film should have tried harder. If you want a good horror films where two kids have to fight off spirits..you’ll be waiting a while. That’s not exactly a proven formula for success. Instead, you should go watch some comic book films which will at least have good action scenes and plots to engage you in. It will ultimately provide you with the superior experience.