Casey (Odette Annable, née Yustman) is a normal college student whose world is torn asunder when she starts having visions of a ghostly boy (Ethan Cutkosky). Her brown eyes are also gradually turning blue. With the help of B.F.F. Romy (Meagan Good) she finds out her grandmother Sofi (Jane Alexander) was a holocaust survivor who pissed off a dybbuk—a displaced spirit trying to rejoin the living by hijacking a body. So the dybbuk wants revenge on the family, and has set its sights on Casey, who, like her grandmother, had a twin who died (there’s an explanation about twins being a kind of living mirror). Her only hope is Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman) and an exorcism.
I thought I might have trouble taking the movie seriously on my second viewing, since I did when I saw it in the theatre. Thanks to the repeated line “Jumby wants to be born now,” all I could think of was the scene in Juno at the abortion clinic: “All babies want to be born!” In addition, I get disgusted with filmmakers that exploit an ethnicity or culture to make a horror movie about white/nonsecular people reacting to it (sassy Black best friends don’t count, as they are often victimized by it).
However, it’s not just your average dumb teen slasher. The creepiness starts right at the opening, with an upside-down-headed dog. Afterward, Barto’s ghost is pretty eerie, and so is a scene when Sofi’s acquaintance at her retirement home suddenly rotates his head 360 degrees and chases her. They look real—they’re not overly CGI’d. While Barto’s eyes are clearly digital, the rest of him is an actual little boy. Of course there are typical horror movie touches: sex equaling doom, a shower scene, Casey in her frilly underthings (even in the movie poster–I cropped her little booty out of the one I used for the featured image), and frequent (but this time not overly so) fake-outs. Overall, I give it high marks for originality, fairly comprehensible plot, and good performances. It has its moments.