Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Presence (2010)

At a glance:
A woman’s idyllic cabin retreat is haunted by ghosts and by her past

Our review (with spoilers):
Imagine the most boring movie ever – just watching The Woman (Mira Sorvino) as she tinkers around by herself in a log cabin with no electricity. She makes tea. She listens to an old Victrola. Every time she uses the outhouse, a dead bird is thrown against it. And just so it isn’t completely boring, there a pale guy watching her all the time. She can’t see him, and he has the pallor of a dead person. We get about 35 minutes of this, until finally The Woman’s Boyfriend shows up, uninvited and unannounced (there’s no boat sound or anything). This is supposed to be a scary moment, I think. They have zero chemistry, but I believe that is by design. Despite this, The Man proposes to her and she accepts, although immediately after, he almost falls down a cliff and she drops and loses the ring while saving him. Things go downhill from there. She suddenly becomes moody and detached. He keeps making food and coffee that she does not ingest. She just wants to work and he would like someone to speak to. All the time, Dead Guy watches and does…nothing! Finally, we find out the source(s) of her mood: she was abused by her father as a child, and now, an evil spirit is whispering things in her ear and she is listening. I’m going to stop right there and not tell more of this plot, as it is making me relive this horribly boring film yet again. Let’s just say a couple more things happen near the end but I congratulate any marathon runner viewer that can make it that far. One thing I will add – and it is my only positive – the ending had a lovely little  - you could almost call it a twist but it is more of a concept revealer – that shows that this idea could have been much more successful if it was filmed with a bit more passion and movement.

Rating: 1 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Woman with personal issues goes to a remote place in the woods somewhere to spend some time alone in the cabin she spent her summers as a child. What she doesn't know is that there is some guy (which we the audience can see) who looks like something between a department store mannequin and crew member of the starship Enterprise haunting the place. He does this by standing and staring or sitting and staring. Maybe about 20 minutes in, or so, he swivels an eyeball to the side. Then about 40 minutes in he becomes less like a mannequin and more like crew member of the Enterprise looking for a way to get back to his ship.

I was intrigued when the movie started and I saw the ghost sitting or standing staring. --Right off the bat; just like that; no preamble; as is usually NOT the case with most ghost stories. "Hmm.....this is a different approach", I say's to myself, "Let's see where it goes". I believe I already told you where it went for 40 minutes."
- Boloxxxi (IMDB user review)


  1. Ah, what a shame. Was kind of looking forward to this one, but I'll skip it now.

  2. I just saw this at the Dallas Film Festival and the reaction of the crowd there, including all four in my party, could not have been different! The audience response was very positive. People laughed and jumped, and the Q&A with the director after the movie was terrific.

    It definitely has a slow build. But that is part of what made it so creepy. It's a beautiful film, deliberately paced, that maybe takes a lot of thought to get into. While the 4 of us had very different interpretations of the movie, we loved it.

  3. It sounds like this could be the type of film that would benefit from being seen in a movie theater with an audience.

  4. For a wildly different take from perhaps a slightly more credible source:

  5. Slightly more credible...if you don't say so yourself, eh? It reads to me like it is actually less credible and more along the lines of 'paid for by the producers of the movie' - much like the fake reviews that each indie film seems to get on IMDB...perhaps. :)


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