The Girl in the Photographs (2015)★★★☆☆


I’d been avoiding this movie on Netflix for some reason. I think it was because of Kal Penn. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kal Penn…I just couldn’t really picture him in any serious horror movie.

The verdict? Well, either this wasn’t a serious horror movie or I just didn’t take Kal Penn’s character seriously. And from the story, the artsy camera flashes, and an awesome cameo from one of my all-time favorite scream queens, Katharine Isabelle. So I think it was at least an attempt at a serious horror movie.

And it wasn’t really a bad attempt. The story was pretty good, the protagonists were definitely creepy, and the (sometimes way too loud) background score definitely pointed to “serious horror.” But Kal Penn’s character was too over-the-top to feel like more than a caricature and the weird pacing of the film meant he got a lot of screen time.

Sure, I should have known from the Netflix description which describes him as “insufferable.” I assumed that, like many blurbs, this was a hyperbole. I was wrong. He is insufferable, quite literally.

My biggest problem with the movie, if I’m honest? That Peter (Kal Penn’s character) tells Colleen she should stay at their rental house overnight because of “safety in numbers” AND THEN THE GROUP PROCEEDS TO SPLIT UP COMPLETELY at the rental house. I think “safety in numbers” requires you to, y’know, stay together.

But whatever. It’s a bleak slasher film with a couple of neat tricks and several old ones (I’m over the “camera flash as flashlight” jump scare tactics). It doesn’t feel original but it’s reasonably well acted and decently scary. Plus (spoilers ahead) Peter gets what’s coming to him in the end. I probably wouldn’t watch this on date night but it’s a bit better than background noise.