The Attic

Director: Josh Stolberg (2013)
Starring: Sterling Beaumon, Steven Weber, Raleigh Holmes
Find it: IMDB

What's the worst thing you've ever found in your attic? In the case of the home where I grew up, it was literally me. My bedroom was in the attic, see (not in a child abuse kind of way). Before that, it was a Barbie automobile, porn and somebody else's Christmas decorations. For the lovely, all-American Gates family, the answer to that question is a terrifying Steven Weber, bearded and aggressive. It could have been worse, I suppose - it could have been Jack Nicholson.

The film's hook is an effective one; unbeknownst to the Gates mom, dad and children, they share their home with its previous tenant; Aldon Webber (Weber) who lurks in their loft, watching from afar, occasionally showing his face to murder a babysitter or punch their eldest son in the face. Weber is a good pick as the film's villain; an underrated horror actor with a dramatic face and the presence needed to scare. Like David Arquette in The Tenant, he's an overlooked choice of psycho (overlook, like the hotel. Geddit) but can bring the chops when he needs to.

The Attic will win no prizes for its execution or 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 bickering and do actually seem to love one another. Raleigh Holmes is good as the family daughter, well supported by her on-screen family. Even the child isn't too annoying, although there is one scene in which he does nearly shoot his own head off with a paintball gun. Also, there's David Koechner, who doesn't really do much, but is always a welcome presence.

If The Attic had been made in the seventies or eighties, it would have been directed by Tobe Hooper and starred David Hess. As it is, it's a little derivative, but creepy enough that you'll see it through to the end.

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