It Knows

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - PHILIP MARTIN

While the sin­gu­lar good idea at the heart of It Knows — a psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror movie by Mis­sis­sippi-based film­mak­ers Mark L. Maness and Rob Win­frey — mightn’t be quite enough to sus­tain it for the length of its 76-minute run­ning time, Arkansas au­di­ences will likely en­joy its re­lent­less pace and the op­por­tu­nity to see a few faces fa­mil­iar to the state film­mak­ing and theater com­mu­ni­ties on the big­gest screen.

Chief among these play­ers is 9-year-old Lau­ren Las­seigne, who plays Claire, a girl abused and later haunted by her ir­re­deemably evil dad (Dan Michael), who in­flicts upon her some truly ter­ri­ble dam­age. (As the film­mak­ers are quick to re­mind us, this un­rated film is un­suit­able for most chil­dren, though Las­seigne pro­vides young Claire with the sort of steely re­solve that can face down mon­sters.)

Any­way, the film be­gins cryp­ti­cally, with a young woman we soon dis­cover is the grown-up Claire (Car­men Pat­ter­son) be­ing threat­ened in the woods. We then flash­back to the events of what must have been one of the worst days of her life, when her younger self wit­nessed a se­ries of atroc­i­ties.

Even­tu­ally we are led to un­der­stand that Claire has, for ob­scure rea­sons, left her whole­some-seem­ing hus­band, Frank (War­ren McCul­lough), and lit­tle chil­dren (sib­lings Corbin and Grace Pitts from Mem­phis) to camp in the wilder­ness, where she’s men­aced by some su­per­nat­u­ral en­tity. And at cru­cial mo­ments she’s sud­denly cast back into a ver­sion of the sub­ur­ban home where all the bad stuff went down all those years be­fore. There she’s con­fronted by young Claire, and even­tu­ally other fig­ures from her past.

If you’re the sort of movie­goer who likes to puz­zle these sorts of things out, it shouldn’t take you long to dis­cover ex­actly what’s go­ing on, and why Claire can never quite es­cape the house.

Still, while the film is a lit­tle short on in­ten­tional hu­mor, it’s not un­lik­able, and it doesn’t ex­actly revel in its gore. And it has an el­e­gant lit­tle twist (though one that might have worked bet­ter as a 30-minute short). While there’s some tonal dis­so­nance be­tween the per­for­mances, it could be ar­gued that the fi­nal rev­e­la­tion ex­plains a bit of the stagi­ness in some scenes while others are played nat­u­ral­is­ti­cally.

And it’s nice to see the con­sis­tently ex­cel­lent Ed Lowry and Lau­ren McCul­lough in small parts.

It Knows will screen at 7 p.m. Mon­day at Lit­tle Rock’s Riverdale 10 Theater, 2600 Cantrell Road. Tick­ets are $11 and can be bought in ad­vance at riverdale10.com.

Young Claire (Lau­ren Las­seigne) has some dif­fi­cult in­for­ma­tion to im­part in the in­de­pen­dently pro­duced psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller It Knows.

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