Anguish (2015)★★★☆☆


I was kind of hoping this movie would be terrible so I could make an equally terrible joke about the anguish I felt getting through it, but I liked it too much for that. It was a bit slow paced, and not as terrifying as it could have been, but it was interesting.

I was especially impressed with the minimalism of the background music and how simple the camera work was. It’s a great example of “less is more.”

The acting was believable across the board. Ryan Simpkins was especially great as Tess. She looked so familiar I was sure I’d seen her in something before, but since I haven’t seen anything else IMDb has her listed in, I’m pretty sure she just looks so similar to her brother Ty Simpkins (from the Insidious series) that I was remembering him instead. They’re both talented young actors I’d love to watch in more scary movies.

I also really enjoyed how real each of the characters seemed. I have had conversations with my mother that sounded exactly like the opening scene of the film, and I’ve felt the uncertainty and self-alienation Tess went through dealing with mental illness. In fact, I was really impressed with how mental illness was handled throughout the film – it may have been used as a plot device, but it was handled respectfully and realistically.

Had it been scarier or better paced, I would probably have rated it higher, but it’s still a reasonably interesting and novel take on your standard possession story.