(director: Rob Savage; screenwriters: short story by Stephen King/Scott Beck/Bryan Woods/Mark Heyman; cinematographer: Eli Born; editor: Peter Gvozdas; music: Patrick Jonnson; cast: Sophie Thatcher (Sadie Harper), Chris Messina (Will Harper), Vivian Lyra Blair (Sawyer Harper), David Dastmalchian (Lester Billings), Maddie Nichols (Natalie), LisaGay Hamilton (Dr. Weller), Marin Ireland (Rita); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Shawn Levy/Dan Levine/Dan Cohen; 20th Century Studios-21 Laps Entertainment; 2023)

“One of the better King stories made into film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Based on a 1973 12-page short story by Stephen King that in 1978 became part of his Night Shift Collection. Rob Savage (“Dashcam”/”Host”) adequately directs, using jump-scares to keep it scary. The screenplay is by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods and Mark Heyman. This is one of the better King stories made into film. It’s a horror pic about a teenage girl, Sadie Harper (Sophie Thatcher), and her 10-year-old sister Sawyer (Vivian Lyra Blair), who are being targeted in their home by a supernatural being.

The girls are still grieving from the recent car accident death of their mother. Their therapist father, Will (Chris Messina), is of little help, as he has emotionally checked out.

A desperate patient
(David Dastmalchian) of dad’s shows up at the house begging for help and when the therapist doesn’t believe him, he leaves behind the titular supernatural being who killed his three children. Then the mentally sick patient commits suicide in the closet of Will’s house.

Unfortunately, the slight story leaves the film without much heft. But if in need of some genuine scares and a crisply made scare flick, this film will oblige.