This moody horror begins at a frenzied pitch: a panicked drive down a foggy highway at night, a pregnant woman about to give birth at the wheel. Like her, the story is looking for a new place to go; but it never really finds one. On its own terms, it’s a serviceably creepy slice of occult-tinged mother-son horror, but the story is constantly bumping into predecessors that have already covered this territory, 含む The Omen, Hereditary, The Babadook そして True Detective.
The woman is Laura, played by Andi Matichak, star of David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween. After the prologue, we catch up with her eight years later, a stable single mother to an angelic son David (Luke David Blumm), happily living her small-town life. Until one night she walks into David’s bedroom and sees a group of strangers gathered around his bed. She immediately runs for help. When she returns, the people are gone. Did she just imagine it?
Sympathetic police officer Paul (Emile Hirsch) gives her the benefit of the doubt, しかしその後, she’s an attractive single mum and he’s a lonely single cop. デビッド, しかしながら, is not himself. He complains of pains. He vomits blood. He goes into a coma and is rushed to hospital. His mystery condition does not necessarily improve. Flashbacks hint at Laura’s history of abuse and psychological problems, and connections with some kind of cult, which she believes is still after her. Are they really all out to get her, or is it all in her head? どちらにしても, mother and son take to the road across the desolate rural south, with the cops following their increasingly bloody trail.
There are moments of suspense and gory horror here, だが, having played its hand early, the story struggles to sustain momentum or mystery. Refusing to fill in key pieces of the puzzle – such as Laura’s abusive father – doesn’t help. A few late twists aren’t enough to rescue it.