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Executive-produced by Guillerno Del Toro, this is no “Pan’s Labyrinth”. There are two things that elevate this by-the-numbers ghost  thriller: the  chameleon-like Jessica Chastain, who could well win the best actress Oscar for “Zero Dark Thirty” and a totally unpredictable  ending, which of course, I wont’ ruin for you.

It starts fresh:  after their dad kills his Wall Street firm fellow execs and his wife, he kidnaps his  two young daughters in a snowstorm, where they end up crashed in the woods, where the 2 girls are  found 5 years later.

For the most part, this is a been-there-done-that. Reminiscent of Daniel Radcliffe’s “The Woman in Black” last year, the mama ghosts in both look nearly identical .  And they’re not  really scary. There are  the obligatory black wall splotches indicating where the ghost is about to spring into attack-mode. How many times has that been used ??  Another old technique: insects. In this case, it’s butterflies.

I will say a plus is it’s not  gory.  But it delivers few jumps.  And that’s the bottom line for a horror story. Better to see Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”.

2 stars


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