An American woman in Europe regrets taking a babysitting job in the scenic British countryside in this moody horror yarn.
This one doesn’t waste any time and brings on the creepy straightaway. Greta arrives at the country estate of the Heelshires but no one is home to receive her. She pokes around a bit and finds it is a strange place with lots of antique furniture and windows that are painted shut.
The Heelshires arrive and they are a little long in the tooth to be advertising for a baby sitter. They usher Greta into the room of their son Brahms. Turns out he is a well dressed, very small, doll. The Heelshires immediately launch into an itemized list of how to care for their ” boy .” They are sticklers for rules and these include making food for the figure and putting what he doesn’t eat into rat traps outside, reading to him for hours and playing loud music . At night he is to be tucked in and kissed before putting out the lights.
They are dead serious about all of this but the money is good so Greta takes the easy gig and promises to follow each and every order while the couple go on Holiday. They leave and she promptly drops the toy onto a chair where she leaves it while getting chatting up Malcolm, the grocer who delivers supplies.
Malcolm is taken with Great and fills her in on the couple. Apparently they lost their son twenty years before and have kept to themselves ever since. They are well liked oddballs and nobody has had much difficulty with them. Malcolm asks her out and Greta accepts despite being a little gun-shy after coming to England to escape an abusive boyfriend.
Unfortunately something doesn’t want her to have a social life. Could it be Brahms who killed her evening out by locking her in the attic after hiding her clothes? Greta comes to believe that the doll is haunted by the ghost of Brahms and she begins taking care of it as per the instructions . This immediately brings peace until her ex shows up demanding she come home.
Now things really get messy as Brahms springs into action and the bloodshed begins . To give away more would be criminal but suffice to say this movie has a few tricks up its sleeve. By the time this is over you will respect Greta’s bravery and an icy feeling will seep into your bones when you realize just how cold and nasty the Heelshires really were in their plans for her.
Even if you are clever enough to figure out what’s going on here it is all well executed by the director, William(The Devil Inside) Bell. Greta is a fine heroine thanks to the casting of Lauran Cohan (The Walking Dead). The doll is a suitably eerie and the house turns out to have many secret rooms and passages which add to the terror level. Good and proper British fright stuff that is even more disturbing when you review the events of the film in light of what you learn by the end. Definitely worth a second watch.
Best line: “No offense Brahms but you kind of creep me out.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.