— by Jeff Schultz

In this effective horror movie, the monster (through a believable backstory) gets inside a mother’s head, enabling her to bring it to “life”, and thus giving it the power to kill. The mother is a congenital depressive, hospitalized as a child. The possession sends her off the rails, even as she tries to maintain. By keeping the brakes on just enough, Maria Bello is excellent at letting us see the crazy poking through instead of “mad” histrionics. Bello has her match in 10-year-old Gabriel Bateman, familiar to “American Gothic” fans, who has some really polished acting moments and also does scared well. His naturalness reminded me of Henry Thomas in E.T. The ending makes perfect sense (not always the case with horror flicks). I just wish the wrap-up hadn’t been so perfunctory; it seemed thinner than the solid movie that came before it.

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