The Atoning Movie Review
Written by Ali Chappell
Released by Gravitas Ventures
Written and directed by Michael Williams
2017, 89 minutes, Not Rate
Released on September 5th, 2017
Virginia New Comb as Vera
Michael LaCour as Ray
Cannon Bosarge as Sam
The Atoning is about a small family living together while being haunted by demons. The mother and father try their best to protect their son from all the dark secrets that could possibly destroy their family. This film is a slow burn. I like a good slow burn and this movie is fine. Like when you ask your girlfriend, who is upset, if she is ok and she responds with “I’m fine.” That’s how I felt about this. It’s fine.
It seems as though this house is filled with ghosts. All three of them are not sleeping well and when they are sleeping, they are all having vivid nightmares. I would like to think that this film is basically saying the ghosts that live in this house are the ghosts of their past and their inner demons being set free as they go through their divorce. But I don’t think this film goes that deep.
Also, any ghost, demon, entity, whatever that pours Lego everywhere is a straight up jerk. Straight. Up. Jerk. We all know that pain.
I actually adore all of the acting in The Atoning. From the absent-minded father, Ray (Michael LaCour), who clearly doesn’t care about his family, to the young boy, Sam (Cannon Bosarge), who just wants attention from anyone, even the ghost. The worn-down mother, Vera (Virginia Newcomb), clearly just wants to leave. Vera is literally me every time something bad happens. I just yell, “I hate this,“ and bail. I understand her frustration. They all play their parts great. Except the medium in the flashback scenes, she is garbage. Did they put an ad out for “Campy terrible actresses who have no talent?” because that is what they got.
I give so much credit to the scene where Sam and Vera are sitting and talking to each other through the door. It’s emotionally gripping and vulnerable. Something I was not expecting from this movie. Seeing the two break down and ask each other for help in this abusive but also haunted situation is heartbreakingly beautiful. The emotional intensity of this moment, every beat, every breath, every movement from crying to door slamming makes the tension just grow that much thicker to the point you can cut it with a knife.
When you do see the evil spirit (or whatever you would like to call it), you see it in quick cuts. This works. Movies like Insidious that show their hand ruin everything, hence why Insidious is a lame film when it could’ve been great! Thank you very much, Darth Maul Demon for ruining that. The demon in The Atoning is for the most part a hand here and there, you feel it’s presence, and when you do see the figure it’s scary and quick. It doesn’t linger. A lot can be said for leaving something to the imagination when it comes to monsters and ghouls.
In the end, The Atoning is worth the watch if you like a nice slow release horror film. I probably won’t watch it again, but I mean, if I was somewhere and someone put it on I would stay and hang out and eat all the popcorn.