The Attic Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 101 Films
Directed by Josh Stolberg
Written by Josh Stolberg and Nick Taravella
2013, 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 5th May 2014
Raleigh Holmes as Kayla Gates
Sterling Beaumon as Shane Gates
Jonathan Silverman as Tim Gates
Lori Loughlin as Susan Gates
What's the strangest thing you've ever found in your attic? For most people, it's nothing more interesting than a Christmas tree and some dusty pornography. For the all-American Gates family, the answer to that question is a scary, aggressive and bearded Steven Weber. It could be worse though – it could be fellow Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson.
The film's hook is an effective one; unbeknown to the Gates mom, pop and three children, they share their home with its previous tenant – Aldon Webber, who lurks in their loft, watching from nearby, showing his face only to murder a babysitter or physically assault their eldest son. Weber is a good pick for the film's villain – like David Arquette in The Tenant (a similarly told psychological thriller, also available from 101 Films) he's an underrated dramatic actor with surprising presence. An overlooked (like the hotel, geddit) choice of psycho, Weber is an actor who can bring the chops when he has to. The story is obviously cribbed from the Gary Busey thriller The Hider in the House (not the children's TV show with crap English pop stars and comedians, then) but writer Josh Stelberg does a good enough job retelling it for his audience.
The Attic will win no prizes for originality, or its constant, shameless attempt at jump-scares, but the story is interesting enough that it's easy to forgive its flaws. It's nice to see a family in a horror film who don't spend their whole time arguing and acting horribly towards each other. Granted, their youngest son does almost shoot his own face off with a paintball gun while his brother is trying to hit on the babysitter, but even the kids are alright. Raleigh Holmes is good as the Gates daughter, well supported by her screen family and friends. There's also an appearance by occasional Anchorman and frequent movie bastard David Koechner as a bug exterminator, which serves as a nice surprise. He's not given much to do, but the Koechner is always a welcome presence.
If it had been made in the seventies, The Attic would have been directed by Tobe Hooper and starred David Hess or Robert Englund. As it is, it's predictable and a little derivative, but creepy enough that you'll see it through to the end.