Marie (Anastasia Hille) and Nicolai (Karel Roden), long lost twins, return to their homeland, Russia, where their mother's dead body has been found under bizarre circumstances. The only clue as to what might have happened is an isolated, abandoned farm in the mountains that according to local superstitions is 'damned'.A cycle of horror comes to fruition, as they learn the real reason they have each been summoned for this perverse reunion with their past... and the brutal secret behind their family.
It is just possible that in Security Guard Cooper, Jason Patric plays one of the most obnoxious characters in modern cinema. He plays it to perfection - as he ‘welcomes’ new security guard Julia Streak (a fine performance from Louisa Krause), you are waiting for whatever dark creatures that may lurk in the shadows of the apartment complex they are patrolling to come and do their worst to this embittered, annoying wheelchair-bound character. He even suggests Streak change into her uniform in front of him, revealing a certain deviance.
He is such a vile personality that it is almost a pity when he appears to soften as the various apparitions of scary faces in the darkness become more prevalent, especially as, at least initially, they aren’t terribly frightening. His judgement appears to over-ride hers when a homeless man (Jim, played by Mark Margolis) begs to spend the night in the building, fearing he will die in the storm outside. Against Cooper’s express wishes, Streak allows him into one of the vacant rooms.
Luckily, there is a recorded documentary available for Streak and Cooper to watch, which explains how the building was a ‘dumping ground’ for deformed, mentally disturbed children many years ago, operating under-funded, by doctors who were being investigated for malpractice. As Streak threatens to close the place down, believing the spirits of the children are still present, Cooper reveals he knows her secret – she is mentally unstable and on a course of tablets: she should not be working in a high security job such as this. He handcuffs her to the cupboard in the observation room: perhaps he has not softened after all.
The ending contains a twist. Freeing herself and travelling to the mysterious room where the children are sent as punishment, Streak confronts a young girl with a facial deformity – she hugs her and tells her “It’s not your fault,” which doesn’t seem to signify anything. The doors open and appear to free Streak from the building. In what is a massive SPOILER (so beware): we then find that Streak has actually been in a coma all her adult life, and has just died. She is lying on a hospital bed. Her father is played by Jason Patric (who appears to have a security job, judging by his uniform). As the camera pulls away from her lifeless body, we see she has a facial deformity identical to the young girl in what appears to be her ‘dream’. Outside her room is another patient, played by Mark Margolis.
Was the ‘not your fault’ line directed at Streak’s younger self, signifying she was abused by her father, or does the remark somehow refer to her deformity? Whether it all fits together with what we have seen and forms a satisfying conclusion is upto viewer discretion. Possibly it asks more questions than it answers. That revelatory confusion put to one side, this is an otherwise solid horror film, with some pedestrian scares and a fairly touching finale.