Friday, October 16, 2015

31 Nights of Terror 2015 #12 - The Atticus Institute (2015)

The Atticus Institute (2015)
Director: Chris Sparling
Starring: Rya Kihlstedt, William Mapother, Sharon Maughan
Format: AVI

Plot: In the fall of 1976, a small psychology lab in Pennsylvania became the unwitting home to the only government-confirmed case of possession. The U.S. military assumed control of the lab under orders of national security and, soon after, implemented measures aimed at weaponizing the entity. The details of the inexplicable events that occurred are being made public after remaining classified for nearly forty years.

Given the confession to not really liking possession movies in my review of The Possession of Michael King, why would I choose a similar movie so soon? Well, my girlfriend likes these kinds of movies, and she's doing the 31 Nights of Terror marathon with me, so yeah.

Written and directed by Chris Sparling (who penned 2012's solid-but-unspectacular ATM), The Atticus Institute uses the now-familiar tropes of the found footage horror flick, but takes it down a mockumentary route. You get plenty of "talking heads" interviews with the people involved, as they recall what happened in 1976. I watch a lot of docos and I have to say that Sparling does a great job of making this feel like something that would play on the History Channel or Nat Geo channel (or Discovery before it became all reality shows). That feeling of authenticity makes it a lot more watchable than a lot of found footage demonic-possession movies.

However, outside of the mockumentary angle and a few good scare moments, this movie falls into the trap of showing all the same, tired possession effects. Rya Kihlstedt is very good as the possessed woman, and William Mapother (apparently Tom Cruise's cousin) solid as the obsessed scientist, but we've seen it all before. Worth watching if possession movies are your thing. 

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