Have you walked near a college campus lately? You might notice that the ’80s are creeping into fashion, the way the ’70s did a few years back, and with the same lack of irony. It’s happening in cinemas, too — something that’s not entirely unwelcome when it comes to the horror genre.
Suspense is in, gore is out — just compare the box-office grosses for writer/director Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity with the anemic returns from the latest Saw entry. Less is more, and writer/director/editor Ti West knows it — until he forgets near the end of this babysitter-in-peril nailbiter.
College student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue), all feathered hair and mom jeans, might remind you of Margot Kidder in The Amityville Horror — which seems about right, given this film’s ’80s-set creepy-house tableau. Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov are just right (or wrong) as her employers, the Ulmans, but the film doesn’t get dark enough. Strange, since it’s set during a lunar eclipse.