Executive-produced by Guillerno Del Toro, this is no “Pan’s Labyrinth”. There are two things that elevate this by-the-numbers ghost thriller: the chameleon-like Jessica Chastain, who could well win the best actress Oscar for “Zero Dark Thirty” and a totally unpredictable ending, which of course, I wont’ ruin for you.
It starts fresh: after their dad kills his Wall Street firm fellow execs and his wife, he kidnaps his two young daughters in a snowstorm, where they end up crashed in the woods, where the 2 girls are found 5 years later.
For the most part, this is a been-there-done-that. Reminiscent of Daniel Radcliffe’s “The Woman in Black” last year, the mama ghosts in both look nearly identical . And they’re not really scary. There are the obligatory black wall splotches indicating where the ghost is about to spring into attack-mode. How many times has that been used ?? Another old technique: insects. In this case, it’s butterflies.
I will say a plus is it’s not gory. But it delivers few jumps. And that’s the bottom line for a horror story. Better to see Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”.