Directed By: Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Shree Crooks, Frank Grillo, Anna Torv, Jonah Beres, LaSaundra Gibson, Samantha Smith
Rated: R
Grade: B-

Seemingly abandoned after a strange global crisis and the death of her older brother, young Stephanie is doing her best to survive, despite the malevolent force that seems to be targeting her home. On the brink of giving up completely, her parents suddenly reappear and apologize for leaving her alone for so long. Still worried about the force that stalks their home, her father begins building a fence to surround the yard, and her brother’s decaying body is finally buried in the orchard beyond. Although things seem to be returning to normal, the force continues to appear. After a particularly violent attack, it’s revealed that Stephanie herself is the source of the chaos. After desperately trying to save their daughter, they run out of options and make one last attempt to stop the thing controlling her.

This locked room thriller, in which a stuffed turtle named Francis gets more screen time than the actors playing Stephanie’s parents, manages to remain interesting despite the fact that the first 20 minutes or so is showing Stephanie going about daily routines in her attempt to survive long enough for her parents to return. Shree Crooks does a wonderful job with the material, and she handles the range of emotions well. The actors playing her parents have a decent chemistry, though the movie doesn’t dedicate much time to exploring it since their return marks ramp up in the action and story progress. The story itself is interesting with a decent twist.

Most of the effects seem to be done practically, with CGI being used sparingly. What little CGI is used seems to be well done, and the background filler isn’t very noticeable.

Fans of thriller movies should enjoy this. There isn’t a lot of gore or language, so the rating is mostly for the intense sequences and some violence towards the end. Anyone who enjoys horror/thrillers wouldn’t be disappointed to spend the money to buy or rent this, and it should hold up for repeated viewings.

Stephanie is available free to stream through Netflix, and can also be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.

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