If two beautiful people die in the woods and there’s nobody around to hear it, are we supposed to care? Normally, yes. Static does a great job in making you actively, militantly not care what happens to its fatuous protagonists. Milo Ventimiglia and Sarah Shahi play Jonathan and Addie Dade, a couple who recently lost their three year old son in an accident. Jonathan is a writer and, shortly after finishing his novel, a young woman by the name of Rachel (Sara Paxton) turns up at their door. Apparently she’s being chased by a group, and she needs to hide out in their house for a while. Do they mind?
They invite her into their house, and from thence the problems arise. The group becomes more aggressive as their attentions turns to Jonathan and Addie, and their campaign of terror reaches new heights as the film wears on, towards a conclusion that is probably supposed to be shocking, or surprising. It isn’t, but that’s by the by.
It’s one of those horror films that feels the need to shoehorn a twist ending, to mangle the narrative and the world of the film to fit some kind of pre-ordained horror cliché. The twist doesn’t actually make sense, it just reframes the events of the film in an completely unsatisfying way. If you know anything about the genre conventions of horror, you will know from the outset what the ending of the film will be.
Sure, there’s a few interesting conceits. The masks worn by the group are justified and explained in a way that, in the world of the film, does make sense. They need the masks. Too bad that nothing could mask (HAHAHA) just how little effort has been put into this film. The use of sound is completely off-putting – extremely loud music, while the spoken dialogue is near-silent. Basic continuity errors run rife – in one particularly laughable scene, Jonathan enters his house in the dark, quickly loads a gun, and runs back outside into the broad daylight. To paraphrase Mark Kermode, “if you’re noticing continuity errors, you aren’t enjoying the film”.
Even if that wasn’t the case, the performances of the cast also leave a lot to be desired. Ventimiglia, usually pretty reliable, watches the clock right the way through. Shahi is essentially a fleshly moany lump, only serving to weigh down the hero as he attempts to save her life. The rest of the cast, all four of them, are completely forgettable, and the nakedly expository scene tacked on at the very end to explain the obvious twist manages to be both embarrassing and patronising, treating the viewer like they’ve a) never seen a horror film before or b) haven’t been taking any notice. It’s an insult. The entire film is an insult.
It’d be really difficult to enjoy this film at all. You’d have to really hate films, or yourself, or life, if you’re putting yourself through this utter shit without good cause. On IMDB, one misguided forum member suggests that it’s a remake of French thriller Ils (Them). It isn’t. It’s nothing like as good as that film. Think more of a sub-standard mixture between Funny Games and Antichrist, without any of the vigour, fun, or skill of either of those films, and a bit of paranormal guff thrown in. Avoid it.