Here’s an unfortunate one that’s so bad it’s just plain bad. The makers of Ominous throw every ghost movie cliché they can think of at the screen and almost nothing sticks. We get doors that creak open by themselves, creepy dolls, lurking spectral presences, spooky voices, not to mention the grievously overdone “soaking wet girl with long black hair” imagery that us horror movie fans have had to suffer through a thousand times since THE RING, but the whole thing is so drawn-out and uninvolving that it has no impact.
After a baffling unrelated opening sequence that is ominous for all the wrong reasons, we’re introduced to the family that we’re going to have to spend the next hour and fifteen minutes with – the Callahans. And as far as movie families go, this is a tough one to take. There’s no real chemistry at all and it seems like the members of the family all met about ten minutes before the camera rolled. The extremely thin story involves the unfaithful lout of a husband deciding to take his wife and three kids on a vacation to the wife’s long abandoned childhood home, in an effort to rebuild his broken family. It just so happens that the house is haunted. This seems like a fine scenario, but unfortunately none of the relationships are built-in such a way as to make any of it interesting. There is zero sexual tension between the husband and wife, and most of the time they seem like the worst parents ever. It isn’t long before we’re subjected to endless scenes of ghostly occurrences involving two dead, rotting children who are shown way too much and way too repetitively to actually be frightening. And not one of these scenes adds up to anything to justify its existence. Not one. Ominous is the kind of movie that constantly bombards us with scary music and screeching strings, rather than showing us something that is actually scary.
It isn’t until the end that the makers decide to put any of this into context, with a halfway decent dream sequence where we finally learn a bit of back story involving the wife and her mother. Why they would wait until the last ten minutes to share any of this with us is a great mystery. If we’d seen bits of this dream imagery throughout maybe the viewer would have a bit of a puzzle to solve, but as it is, it comes too late to do anything but illustrate the ineptness of the storytelling….
…I’m trying to think of a positive aspect of this flick, but it’s just not coming. The cinematography in Ominous varies wildly between much too glaring and way too dark, the editing is awful, acting abysmal, and even though it clocks in at one hour twenty minutes the whole thing feels padded from the start. Special mention has to go to the sound design, and I recommend taking a healthy dose of your favorite potion every time you hear unnaturally howling wind over a shot of trees that aren’t moving.
Review: Baron Von Marte