Terrified (2017)

It’s not often that a modern horror movie is as scary as its buzz suggests, but Demian Rugna’s “Terrified” is exactly as effective as it’s reputed to be. With an economical running time of 87 minutes, the movie doesn’t waste any time getting down to business, and it’s genuinely unsettling from just about the first frame. There are a number of frightening scenes that had me shivering all over, and I’m a seasoned horror watcher: It’s like Rugma spent a significant chunk of his movie-watching life accumulating the types of situations that get under his own skin then deployed them liberally across the screen in his first feature-length horror feature. Thankfully, he manages to weave the frights organically into the movie’s narrative, which has several shades of the “Insidious” franchise but without the forced comic relief and muddled plots. In several ways, “Terrified” plays like a better version of the aforementioned “Insidious” movies, and while it doesn’t manage to develop its characters particularly well, it does everything else so effectively that it should be hunted down by serious horror fans and has all the hallmarks of a cult classic waiting to happen.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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