Welcome horror fans! While Cult was taking in some exclusives at Texas Frightmare Weekend, Old Man Feind was stuck at home with whatever he could find so I paid a visit to…
Yes, Old Man Feind is still a little jealous of Cult getting to see a buttload of new horror at Texas Frightmare Weekend but I’m glad for hopefully some new exposure for us and some new connections. So while Cult was off celebrating horror I was left to just tap away at the keyboard getting ready for this week. Maybe next year we can make it to one of these things together. So anyway since Cult was off seeing somethings that few have seen yet I thought I’d at least put on my horror hat and try to find something worth watching. So I came across The Atticus Institute by chance so was it worth my time?
The film is about Dr. Henry West (William Mapother) who starts the Atticus Institute to study clairvoyance, telekinesis and other psi-related phenomena. This is not yet another found footage film though there is that element through films from the institute’s archives. The Atticus Institute is really a documentary about a fictional event. Films from the institute showing what actually happened are interspersed with narration from friends and family of Dr. West trying to talk about an event that happened at the institute in 1976 that seems to have ended with Dr. West’s death. The institute’s work had seemed to be going very well with mild results but they were always searching for something completely mind blowing to verify that clairvoyance or telekinesis was real and could be scientifically verified. They believe they’ve found it in a man who appears to have true telekinetic powers only to discover that one of the lab assistants was using a powerful magnet in his watch to cause the phenomena. Then enters the very odd Judith Winstead (Rya Kihlstedt) brought to the institute by her sister.
It doesn’t take much time for Dr West and his colleagues to discover that Judith is extraordinary. Her clairvoyant abilities are off the charts as well as her telekinetic powers. She also exhibits some more dangerous behaviors seeming to be able to control far more than the simple tests laid out before her. After an incident one night that causes one of Dr. West’s assistants to leave and never return another assistant reaches out for outside help. Unfortunately that help comes in the way of the defense department who quickly take over setting their sights on turning Judith into the ultimate weapon. How easy would an assassination be if it could be carried out from thousands of miles away after all?
Don’t worry I won’t spoil all the good stuff in this one. The military takes over the institute to test how powerful Judith really is discovering in the process that Judith herself isn’t in control but is possessed by an unknown entity. Strange things begin happening to friends and family of the people “testing” Judith from a dog attack to a house fire to the death of a child which can’t all be brushed off as coincidence. As the Defense Intelligence Agency takes over pushing to see just what Judith is capable of they learn that they only think they are in control. When they attempt to transfer the “demon” from Judith into another vessel that’s when everything goes haywire. But the rest you’ll have to see I won’t spoil it.
The Atticus Institute is well written and well acted so kudos to Chris Sparling for once again proving he understands how to tell a compelling story (he also wrote & directed another Feind favorite with Buried). I don’t know how “scary” anyone will find this one as I’m too jaded to really tell to be honest but I can say this one isn’t just full of cheap jump scares which are a sign of just bad filmmaking. William Mapother is excellent as Dr West and Rya Kihlstedt is amazing as Judith truly making you believe she is possessed. This may not be the “scariest” movie I’ve ever seen but I can tell you it more than held my attention as the story and the way it’s told makes you want to see more and more. It’s excellent unless you like cheap jump scares and poorly written characters but why would you? The Scribbler Clock Test was easily passed as I found myself wanting more of this film not less. Seek this one out because it’s just a damn good story. It may not make you soil your britches but it is definitely…
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What do you think horror fans? Have you seen this one yet? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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