This 2005 flick is groundbreaking, as in the first to introduce the audience to a realm of spiritual investigation not many had heard of at this point. Remember, this is a time when shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters were in their infancy. The exposure to something like was nowhere near as vast and extreme as it is now. That, and the fact that Michael Keaton gives an amazing performance, makes this film even more unforgettable.
The same morning after learning his second wife Anna is pregnant with their first child, successful architect Jonathan Rivers gives goodbye kisses her and Mike, his son with his first wife, before they drive off for the elementary school. Mike makes it to school ok. Anna is never seen again.
Hours turn into days. Days turn into weeks, with no sight of Anna. 6 weeks later, police find Anna’s body, washed up 8 miles from where her car was found. The theory is she got out of her car to change a flat tire near the ocean, slipped on wet rocks, cracked her head open, and then slowly drifted into the water. Autopsy confirms this.
A few months later, a grieving Jonathan is visited by Raymond Price, who tells him that Anna has been trying to get a hold of him through Raymond. He explains that he has the ability to communicate to the dead, and wants to share his deceased wife’s messages. Jonathan blows him off as a quack and tells him to leave him alone. Raymond leaves him a business card, urging him to get in touch with him when he’s ready.
Jonathan eventually sells the house he lived in with Anna and moves into an apartment in the city. It’s there when he begins to experience weird occurrences; the radio going off at 2:30, cell phone calls coming from his dead wife’s phone, calls at home in the middle of the night, leaving messages of static and the faint voice of Anna calling out to him, etc. Convinced something paranormal is happening, he visits Raymond Prices’ home, who gives him audio proof that Anna is trying to reach out. Raymond explains the scientific term of EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), and how spirits use this as a way to communicate through sound waves. Raymond then shows him videotape of how the dead can actually show themselves through the television. Between the audio and visual evidence, Jonathan is convinced.
After visiting Raymond, Jonathan goes to see a psychic, who warns him about dabbling in the supernatural, tells him that unless you’re trained to handle the ramifications, stay away. Jonathan ignores all her warnings. After another visit with Raymond, he once again hears the voice of Anna, and sees some disturbing visuals on the TV, all screaming obscenities that scare the hell out of him. Jonathan explains that sometimes when listening to the good spirits, and few evil ones make their way through, which is to be expected. Little did Jonathan know that these “evil spirits” could manifest and commit homicide. After receiving a phone call from Raymond, Jonathan runs over to Raymond’s house to find his office torn to shreds – and his dead body trapped under a television. This is when the obsession begins.
After Raymond’s death, he quickly sets up a home studio filled with TV’s and video equipment, hoping to communicate with Anna once again. He spends his entire days, evenings, hoping for any signs of the afterlife. Eventually, he does see the spirit of Anna, who comes to him through the television, telling him to “go…now!” After deciphering a few of Anna’s messages, he realizes that she’s leading him to the exact location of a tragedy that is about to happen.
Suddenly he learns his new lot in life. The question is….is this the work of Anna, or some other nasty spiritual entities out to harm him?
Sorry….I felt the need to laugh demonically, just for effect. And because I refuse to give away the wonderful/weird/scary/insane ending to this film. It’s not quite what was expected, yet everything you knew it might be.
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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Recommendation: Again, a majority of my appreciation for this film is the mainstream introduction to the world of spiritual connection, specifically EVP’s. The Dead trying to contact us is nothing new (as most of you know, I have a documented history with spirits). But to throw this ‘hocus pocus’ on the cinematic screen took guts. Sure, Hollywood took dramatic license to some extent, but for the most part, certain aspects are spot on. And scientifically proven. That’s what makes this film even scarier…that fact that THIS SHIT COULD HAPPEN! This was a very different dramatic performance for Michael Keaton, and he pulled it off well, better than I expected. (And no, Batman is not considered a “dramatic performance.”) ANYHOO, if you like Mikey and the supernatural, you need to see this one. Well worth your time.
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