Since there is no shortage of praise here, I’m just going to review this film in the context of a theatre viewing:
This was far and away the greatest theatre experience I have ever had, and it’s not even close. I don’t think it was intentional (maybe it was) but an amazing byproduct of this film is how interactive it is at moments with a crowd. There is such a subtlety to the scarier elements of this film. An example is a lingering wide shot that hides the horror and rewards the viewers that take in the full frame. This kind of nuance doesn’t get you typical jump scares, but people notice at different times and it created gasps across my theatre like the wave at a baseball game.
The sound was also a factor, the thing about having a creepy sound element of your film be a noise anyone can make with their mouth, is that when people in the theatre do it you never know if it’s the film or the audience. In almost any other context this would be infuriating and annoying, but in this intricately tense environment it was amazing. In a completely serendipitous way, it brought the film into the physical space for me, though it may have understandably bothered some other viewers.
In my audience, there was alot of nervous fidgeting, gasping, and anxious laughter, throughout the film. Though they aren’t as distracting as they normally would be because they seem like valid reactions to what’s happening on screen. The constant hum of the general theatre noise made the deafening silence of some of the films key moments all the more unsettling.
There is a scene that has made this movie iconic not because it’s a shocking moment, but because it sits IN that moment for minutes. It shows us that the true horror of a sequence like that is not the moment itself, but the moments directly after when it becomes real. It’s when it’s effect is felt by the characters, and when the trauma of it truly takes hold. To be in a packed theatre with over a hundred people rustling, coughing, breathing, etc. fall COMPLETELY silent for minutes because they are so shocked and immersed by a moment on screen is a rare and almost surreal experience that I hope everyone has at least once.
All of these factors and many more created this impossibly perfect atmosphere, where an already masterful and horrific family drama was elevated by adding the context of an audience. It really was an added dimension to the film for me and, even disregarding the medium, was one of the most inspiring ways to consume a story I have ever had.
If they ever do another theatrical run (and they better) DO NOT HESITATE, and go to the first showing and bring other people that haven’t seen it, preferably friends or family that you don’t mind hating you afterwards. See you there!