This movie is exactly what it says on the box: a thrill ride of jump scares and creepy vibes with scary dolls, slamming doors, things hiding in the shadows and attic and basement, with an exorcism thrown in for good measure. There’s nothing especially deep and thoughtful going on–a likeable family is tormented by the ghosts of an evil witch’s victims, and they’re rescued by a pair of paranormal researchers–but you don’t watch a movie like this for deep thought.
I enjoyed this movie a lot: I jumped and shuddered and cringed at all the right moments, the atmosphere was delivered perfectly, and I was afraid of the shadows in the basement for a little while after watching it. I don’t feel the need to watch the sequels, which sound like variations on a theme that aren’t delivered nearly as well as this one, and I don’t think this would stand up well to a re-watch, but as a good scary movie there aren’t many better. And I enjoyed seeing Lili Taylor, one of my favorite actors, in a role that’s quite different from the thoughtful independent movies I usually see her in.