Based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Adam Nevill, this film is about Amber, an illegal immigrant who stayed in Mexico to care for her sick mother until the older woman died. Now in Cleveland, her American dream is constantly destroyed by people taking her dignity, her money and perhaps, they’ll even take her life.
The boardinghouse in which Amber lives keeps giving her horrific visions, but she can’t afford to leave. And when the owner and his brother lock her into it, she assumes the worst. Well, it’s even worse than that.
There’s a reveal here — as to what is really in the house and causes the spirits that Amber can see — that is pretty audacious. But the truth is that the most frightening parts of this film are not the supernatural moments, but the way that humans become inhuman to immigrants and grind them into nothing. That part hurts worst of all because it’s real and I hear and see it all the time.
With a career mainly in visual effects, this is Santiago Menghini’s first full-length movie as a director. He has a good eye for imagery and mood, if not for how a story fully comes together. But for a first effort, this is pretty good and he’ll only get better from here.