Stephanie (2017) Horror Movie Review


“Stephanie,” a supernatural horror film directed by Akiva Goldsman, presents a unique blend of suspense and the paranormal, wrapped in a seemingly simple yet deeply complex narrative. The film stars Shree Crooks as Stephanie, a young girl who finds herself alone in her house during a global catastrophe. With only a toy turtle for company, she navigates a world where a malevolent force seems to be lurking in the shadows.

The movie opens with a hauntingly serene image of Stephanie’s life, which is anything but ordinary. The audience is quickly introduced to the unsettling reality that she is not just dealing with the absence of her parents but also with a presence that she cannot understand. The return of her parents, played by Frank Grillo and Anna Torv, marks a shift in the storyline, as they attempt to settle back into a semblance of normal life. However, it becomes increasingly clear that something has profoundly affected their daughter.

Goldsman’s direction is commendable, as he manages to maintain a tight grip on the film’s pacing, creating a sense of unease that permeates throughout the runtime. The performances, especially by Crooks, are strong, conveying a range of emotions that draw the viewer into Stephanie’s world. The film’s atmosphere is one of its standout features, with the cinematography and score contributing to an immersive experience.

The narrative of “Stephanie” is ambitious, and the film doesn’t shy away from leaving certain elements to the viewer’s imagination. This approach can be a double-edged sword, as it may leave some audiences wanting more concrete explanations, while others will appreciate the open-endedness that allows for personal interpretation.

Critics have had mixed reactions to the film, with some praising its ambition and others critiquing its execution. The film holds a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a divide between critics and audiences alike. Some reviews highlight the film’s ability to wrench the viewer by the collar, refusing to let go from the first frame to the last. Others, however, find fault in the lack of context provided for the unfolding events, leading to a midsection that keeps the audience at arm’s length.

“Stephanie” is a film that may not cater to everyone’s tastes, but it certainly offers a thought-provoking experience for those who are willing to engage with its narrative complexities. It’s a movie that challenges viewers to piece together the puzzle, providing enough intrigue and suspense to keep them guessing until the very end.

In the Nutshell

“Stephanie” is a film that stands out in the horror genre for its willingness to explore the unknown and the unseen. While it may not have received universal acclaim, it is a testament to the genre’s potential for storytelling that goes beyond jump scares and gore. For those looking for a horror film that offers more than just surface-level thrills, “Stephanie” is a movie worth watching. [ 4 out of 5 stars.]

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Genre: Sci-fi Horror

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