Horror. Worldview. Faith.

The Familiar – Review

The Familiar – Review

Oct 6, 2012

reviewed by Hallo
directed by Miles Hanon, 2009

I so badly want to like this movie. It has all the themes of a horror film I would enjoy – the most dominant being an issue of identity either in Christ or in Satan. Unfortunately the film is so poorly written and directed that any appreciation of its subtext is rendered impossible. This is a bad movie.

I was not aware of The Familiar’s explicit Christian context when I dialed it in on Netflix. This is a movie made by Christians for the purpose of sharing a Christian message. I’ve got no problem with that; we have previously argued on TheBlackestEyes.com that many horror films carry with them Christian overtones regardless of the authorial intent. Sadly, it seems those elements are more precisely and effectively captured when the film is not deliberately trying to be faith based.

The Familiar is a story about a widower named sam who has turned his life away from God and disappeared in a bottle. One fateful day his sister-in-law, Laura,  pays a visit and asks to stay for a while. Come to find out, she is possessed with a demon who Sam dealt with as a child and this demon is back to finish what he started. It all comes down to a “final showdown” between Sam and Laura where based on his courageous statement, “I belong to Christ”, Sam wins the battle.

The biggest problem with The Familiar is the lack of action. Nothing happens. I mean nothing happens. NOTHING. The film has about 3 set locations and 80% of the movie is boring, lackluster dialogue between Sam and Laura in one of these three settings (the living room, his bedroom, just outside the house). There is zero chemistry between Sam and Laura and when you add in the horrific acting, this is a movie darn near unwatchable. I really don’t know what else to say. The film looks cheap, sounds cheap, has an awful soundtrack, and provides no scares. Even when Laura is possessed, she looks exactly the same. I mean exactly.

This might be one of the more scathing reviews I have written which is too bad – the movie has a great message to share. But people are going to be too busy breaking things because of how bored they are to receive it. Trust me, stay away from this.

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