Emelie – 1 out of 5
I always find it odd when people say they don’t listen to the critics (and they usually say this right before or right after they give their own opinions and, essentially, become critics themselves—in a way). I, myself, listen to the critics quite often and not because I’m a wannabe one on the internet. I usually check out what they have to say because I straight-up dig their reviews or I wanna see how a movie is trending or, finally, to compare my insights to other critics. My girlfriend found Emelie in an article and we decided to watch it. It was written highly of and the reviews have all been overwhelmingly positive. I’m not one to automatically agree with either the rise or decline a film is taking based on its Rotten Tomatoes score and there are times where I agree with the majority and there are definitely times I disagree with the crowd…this was one of those times I disagreed.
|He's running like I should have from this movie.|
A generic suburban couple heads out for their anniversary but not before they hire a young girl named Emelie (Sarah Bolger) to watch their kids; Jacob (Joshua Rush), Sally (Carly Adams) and the youngest Christopher (Thomas Bair). They leave thinking everything will be fine as they go out for a night of fine dining and idle chit-chat but, back at home, things aren’t what they seem. Emelie’s increasingly odd behavior starts to concern the oldest Jacob and it’s not long before they realize how much danger they really are in.
|In the parents' defense though, they are so bland and boring they wouldn't have|
notice any threat whatsoever.
I kept seeing words like “tense” and “creepy” being thrown around in the reviews for this film but I found none of that. What I found was a film with very few redeeming factors and an incredibly lazy story. Granted, I will say that the children in the film are incredibly talented and are clearly the best part of the film but aside from that, and a couple of moments that occur early in the story that help set up the mystery of the film, I found the entire feature to be tedious, boring,underdeveloped and lacking in atmosphere.
|I will give the film this though: This scene is terribly uncomfortable.|
For reasons beyond someone sitting on the crapper.
|It's pretty amazing that Emelie finds the only home in|
the entire world that still uses a VHS player.
The most egregious thing about this film is the fact I found the story to be lazy. Without giving any Spoilers away, this film is a different (but incredibly familiar at the same time) take on the home invasion genre. Emelie isn’t what she seems and, not surprisingly, has ulterior motives for babysitting the kids. You would think that this would result in a slowly paced backstory being unfolded for the viewer to see—you would think this because the entire film is a slow-burn—but, instead, what you get is all of Emelie’s history and motive laid out for you in a single scene and done so in a way that the character is essentially walking you through it and is literally telling a story about what happened to her and what she plans to do.
|This is the closest the film really gets to getting off its ass and providing some|
suspense or tension.
This element destroys all mystery for the film and just looks and feels lazy. This additionally had a domino effect on the rest of the film because, without having the intrigue of why this girl is doing what she is doing and without the film having any sense of a creepy atmosphere or even moments of absolute tension the story just feels pointless, a lot of Emelie’s decisions make no sense and her plan just ends up feeling like a waste of time.
|The only decisions that seemed to work in this film was the casting of the kids.|
Again, they were amazing!
The performances in the film aren’t bad but, aside from the three kids, none of them were really attention-commanding. Even Sarah Bolger wasn’t that impressive as the central character. While she was never out-right terrible, she was laying it on pretty thick and any mystery of the character is lost within the first ten minutes of the film. To put it bluntly, I’m surprised she didn’t end her lines by twirling a mustache and delivering a mad scientist-like evil laugh.
|"Hi! I'm your evil babysitter. Don't worry, no ambiguity here. I pretty much act like I'm|
about to tie a damsel to some train tracks at any time the whole film."
Home invasion horror films are a dime a dozen and not many of them really try to stand out and do things differently. Even Emelie delivers in a lot of clichés in its plot that goes terribly underdeveloped. I was hoping for at least a moment or two that would give me chills or be slightly unnerving but what I saw was a film that just made me kept repeating, “What is the point of all this?”