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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Height Frights

Separation on IMDb

Plot Overview

mom and daughter hugLittle 8-year-old Jenny (Violet McGraw) is playing with her dolls in her brown­stone's attic where she's not supposed to be when she takes a tumble. Her artiste, work-at-home dad Jeff Vahn (Rupert Friend) is down­stairs being encouraged out of his slump by the baby sitter Samantha (Madeline Brewer) when they hear a thump and rush upstairs. The resentful, working mom Maggie (Mamie Gummer) arrives home at just that moment to sweep up her daughter for a trip to the hospital and then petition for custody in the divorce. His “reckless endanger­ment” was the last straw in a marriage characterized by bickering.

At issue is the husband's endemic unemployment while he waits for his ship to come in (“You're not special, okay? You're just unemployed.”) A little bit of growing up is what's needed on his part, like a college student choosing a practical major in a David Mark novel:

“Macroeconomics,” says Tiz brightly. “I wanted to do photography but there's not much money in that.”

“You don't have to decide what you want to be at your age,” says McAvoy, trying to dispense some­thing vaguely useful to the younger man. “Do what matters to you.”

“Money matters to all of us,” says Tiz solemnly— (42)

Accidents happen and a convenient one leaves Jeff in the catbird seat while being pursued by a comic book mogul who likes his dark vision. But there's a down­side to dark visions, although they make for scary movies.


Jeff is actually on the path to success as a comic book artist. This along the lines of, (Prov. 30:24) “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:”

kid with hand puppet(Prov. 30:25) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” He started early, in the summer of life to work his talents. This we gather by inference by watching his daughter who inherited his artistic aptitude. She fills a note­book with her drawings that are well developed for her tender age. She works with her dad to put on Jenny's Puppet Theater.

(Prov. 30:26) “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” The second key to success is location. Once Jeff is in a position to work from home, he goes for “moving upstate so [Jenny] can be near her grandfather.”

(Prov. 30:27) “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” Having an informal, unaligned support group is the next key. Jeff has Samantha to boost his morale and he runs into an old college crony Connor (Eric T. Miller) in a coffee shop. Connor offers him an in at his thriving, comic book business (“Mi nerd-factory es tu nerd-factory.”)

(Prov. 30:28) “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” The last key is to take hold of one's destiny for a niche in life. Connor's boss Alan (Simon Quarterman) recognizes the dark force he's looking for when Jeff slips him his drawings.

One might note that Jeff's wife was not quite the asset one might hope for in a helpmeet. What about her wedding vow, For rich or for poor. She was used to living under her rich dad's roof, but a struggling artist is a different matter. She put up with it patiently for a year, and impatiently two years after that. The vow was Till death, not for three years max. And it wasn't very Catholic of her to divorce him contrary to her religious upbringing. She couldn't even get the departure by death right when she came back as a ghost to haunt him. And what kind of woman sucks the life out of her man, giving their baby sitter an opening to move in with encouragement?

Production Values

” (2021) was directed by William Brent Bell. It was written by Nick Amadeus and Josh Braun. It stars Rupert Friend, Violet McGraw and Madeline Brewer. Child actress McGraw was well coached giving a flawless performance. All the actors did a good job, though none was outstanding.

MPAA rated it R for language, some violence and brief drug use. It was heavy on para­normal happenings manifested through a variety of means. Some­times less is more, and in this case familiarity bred ease. The super­natural horrors are supplemented by height frights, drugs & tainted food, an imposing Family Court, and a run-of-the-mill polter­geist. And New York traffic can be murder.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

care bearThis movie strikes the horror chord from many directions, but the haunting is nicely resolved at the end. Just so one stops watching when the end credits start to roll. There's a mid-credits scene where one of the kid's doll toys shows too much presence for an inanimate object. The movie was good but less frightful than some in its genre.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Mark, David. Cruel Mercy. Copyright © 2016 by David Mark. New York: Blue Rider Press, 2017. Print.