Anguish – USA, 2015

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‘Her nightmares come when she’s awake’

Anguish is a 2015 American horror film written, co-produced and directed by Sonny Mallhi (his directorial debut, he also produced At the Devil’s Door).

A teenage girl named Lucy (Amberley Gridley) and her mother Sarah (Karina Logue) are driving in a car where Lucy asks her mother if she can go to a camping trip. When Sarah tells Lucy no, Lucy angrily gets out of the car only to be hit by another oncoming car just outside the car door.

Tess (Ryan Simpkins), a teenage girl that has suffered for years from what appears to be mental instability, has moved in a new house with her mother Jessica (Annika Marks), hoping to have a new start.

As Tess and her mother are settling in, Tess skateboards by the road where Lucy was hit-while observing the cross that has Lucy’s picture on it, an unseen force pushes Tess down in the dirt and won’t let her leave. Eventually Tess is able to get up and walk home but is now beginning to see phenomena that Tess attributes to her hallucinations…

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Reviews:

Anguish is a thrilling debut from co-producer Sonny Mallhi. Once a producer of other people’s horror films he has finally stepped behind the camera himself. The results are quietly horrifying and heartbreaking.” Andrew Mack, Twitch

” … one of the rare examples of the subgenre emphasizing the humanity of the ghost creeping into the heroine’s body and soul. Lucy’s grieving mother Sarah (Karina Logue)—the sort of character who’s usually secondary in such stories—becomes crucial to the drama in the movie’s second half, which eschews special-FX theatrics and goes to powerful emotional places instead…” Michael Gingold, Fangoria

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“It has a nice, misty look and a whispered, understated tone from the tight group of leading actresses. Even when it defaults to convention – the possessed girl sees off a smarmy priest by knowing that he’s a child molester – the outcome is often unpredictable. It’s a rare film that manages to make skateboarding eerie, too.” The Kim Newman Website

“Mallhi — a veteran producer with such horror films as The Roommate and House at the End of the Street among his credits — is more interested in probing his troubled characters’ emotional states than delivering B-movie shocks. But he can’t help himself from delivering an endless series of jump scares, often relying on sudden, loud sound effects to ratchet up the tension.” Franck Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter  

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“Unlike something like Insidious, the “other side” is mentioned but never really glimpsed, and attempts to play up the danger emanating from there are somewhat slight and lacking in lasting intensity. It leads to a somewhat low-key ending that doesn’t wholly convince viewers as much as it does the characters.” Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

“Sonny Mallhi’s feature debut is a film which follows its characters’ frights and paranoia yes, but their emotional needs as well, striding into an unexpectedly emotional finale that embraces the supernatural and its many faces.” Samuel Zimmerman, Shock Till You Drop

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Anguish lacks drive. It’s pacing is dead slow and while I waited for it to build up to something spectacular, it never really got there and instead of suspense and dread, I was left with just boredom.” Christopher Stewart, UK Horror Scene

Cast and characters:

  • Ryan Simpkins as Tess
  • Annika Marks as Jessica
  • Karina Logue as Sarah
  • Cliff Chamberlain as Robert
  • Amberley Gridley as Lucy
  • Ryan O’Nan as Father Meyers
  • Paulina Olszynski as Morgan
  • Anthony Corrado as Peter
  • Ryan Pry as Cool Teen

Release:

Anguish had its world premiere on July 21, 2015 at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

Wikipedia | IMDb

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