Ethan Hawke, who did a fine job of looking scared in movies like Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
and Training Day
, gets to put his awesome hyperventilating on display in this sometimes-spooky demon-in-the-house yarn. Hawke plays a writer long past his last hit who moves his family into a house where the prior family met their death by hanging from their necks in the backyard. He finds some home movies in the attic, which turn out to be snuff films; rather than calling the cops, he watches them as research. He soon discovers an evil force is after his family’s children, and like most horror-movie idiots, he sticks around while very bad things happen. The movie has some poor performances from supporting players, but Hawke anchors it well. This is much, much scarier than any Paranormal Activity movie.