The Atoning
Drama, Thriller, Horror
IMDB rating:
Michael Williams
Alex Zuko as John
Dorothy Weems as Charon
Jessy Hughes as Vanessa
Nikki Caruso as Asmodeus
Chris Bosarge as Uncle Danny
Todd Barnett as Cody
Stella Allen as Abby
Sherri Eakin as Sara
Storyline: Vera, Ray, and Sam, a seemingly normal family, are haunted by more than mere ghosts. The lingering horror of their past threatens their ability to function as a loving family until they become enlightened by a mystical encounter. From that moment on, they're thrust into a horror worse than anything they've ever experienced. Personal demons manifest and tear the family apart from the inside out as they come to terms with their past.
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Microbudget film that does a few things right, and even more things wrong
For everything this movie does right, it also fails miserably at almost double the rate. For example, the cast was largely comprised of competent and often exemplary actors, including the lead actress and the child. Really superb performances. Then we have the father who is dull and monotone,two dimensional, and can't express emotion to save his life. The worst of the acting comes from the person who played the Psychic. She was such a damn ham, she literally ruined the second half of the film for me. This person obviously rarely acts, and believes that by being the worst stereotype of a psychic she could possibly muster, she might steal the show. News flash; you ruined every scene you were in with your limited and inane "performance".

The movie takes FOREVER to get going, and when it does, you see it coming from a mile away. Everything in this film has been done before, and more competently, but some of the creepier elements were handled with great consideration. The "antagonists" were just people dressed in black cat suits, and the cheapness of the production really brought down its value. There are no real SFX to be found, everything is practical, but the worst kind of practical. Think "community theater" levels of amateur. It really ruined what was supposed to be the single best part of the film.

Lastly, while the script was serviceable, the story was so limited and sophomoric, it was like watching a Lifetime film (wait, IS THIS A LIFETIME FILM?). The "twist" is cliché, the verbal exchanges made me hate the characters and the final act whimpered like an animal you need to put out of its misery. This movie is the type of production you make with the absolute lowest budget possible, and while it may work for more talented individuals, the people responsible for this film just don't have those skills at there disposal.

Overall, this film got a few things right, especially in regards to the casting. But everything else just falls short of even the most bare bones horror film. I advise the people who made thing movie to secure additional funding for their next project, and to inject a less "school project" aesthetic to the SFX and the cinematography. It really elevates the level of the production when you are considerate about the visuals of said film. Avoid this movie, but keep your eye on anything else these people might make.
not good and slow
The good:main actress and child

The rest was not.

Theater shadow light effect , this movie should have been a 20 min short and stay that way .

Disappointing production and directing.

Yes. the grinning psychic was a joke.
Would have had a better time watching paint dry
Seriously. The story was so slow, it was painful. The acting was decent here and there but dreadful otherwise. There were elements to the storyline that were intriguing but execution failed miserably. The creatures were spooky until you were presented with them face on. Some things are better left to the imagination. I don't know how this scored a 6.1 on IMDb. Don't waste your time.
NOT Horror, VERY low budget Drama w/ Horror Elements.
'The Atoning' is not a horror film, it is a drama with Horror elements, it contains little to that effect, it is supernatural in some ways, but there is no gore to be had, and not really even any jump scares, that's not the kind of movie it is. It is not a movie for anyone who is used to large budgets, and doesn't enjoy micro budget films. It is a much better film then people are giving it credit for, and it is clear most of those watching it gave not watched many very low-budget films, I have watched several hundred, probably more?

It is also not for those who like fast- paced films, or are expected gore. You will not find any of that here. If you have seen and liked movies such as: 'Lo', 'Bethany', or 'Beyond the Gates', you will likely like this film. It isn't the same thematically to any of those per say, but they are all similar in their confinement to one main location, have spotty, but overall good acting, and are extremely low budget.

What you will find is a quiet, micro budget thriller, with an above average script, great cinematography(the director was a cinematographer), a good score that isn't obnoxious, and some good acting(from most of the cast, there is some wooden acting by some), and not good just because it's a low budget film.

I've watched a number of films like this thematically, and although different 'The Forgotten', 'Soul Survivors', 'Premonition'(the one with Sandra Bullock' and 'Passengers'(the one with Anne Hathaway), come to mind, but this film's script is stronger than them, and it isn't being cryptic for the sake of being cryptic as those films were. The editing is also far better than those films, there are a couple choppy sequences here and a couple confusing cuts, but they are brief and easily ignored. For the most part, things run smoothly, and the film doesn't suffer from a convoluted script or terrible writing like the films mentioned above.

I very much enjoyed one of the twist, there are a few, and is obvious, and even though it was ruined for me in one of these reviews it didn't actually ruin the enjoyment of the film which is saying a lot. The film does maybe a little more foreshadowing than it should, but again, it did not rahe away from my enjoyment. There were still enough unanswered questions that kept me guessing and wondering until right at the end when the final things were revealed. Unlike most mystery-type movies, I felt the final reveals to be quite satisfying. I didn't leave freling dissatisfied, and that is extensively rare for me with movies of this type.

I found the makeup effects towards the end, while primitive, to be well done. I am a lover of practical effects, so I did appreciate that they used very little CG, there are definitely a few aftermarket computer effects, coloring, blue hues, heightened eye color on the creatures, some black swirls, but they were minimal and enhanced the overall effect. I enjoyed the creatures, and I thought the those paying them did very well at being sinister and creepy, you could tell they were having fun.

As for the psychic others mentioned, I'm glad I thought she would be a total scenery chewer, it made thugs seem less over-the-top, and she want at all over- the-top, you want that, go watch 'Witch Board', but something about her acting was different. I looked on her IMDb profile, and she is primarily a stage actress, things make sense now. This actually explains her somewhat exaggerated expressions(she naturally has a very wide smile and a naturally expressive face), on stage everything has to be bigger to be seen by those in the back, but even with that, she was fine, and, I thought, effective in her role. The father's affecting was not phenomenal, but it was appropriate, once you get to the end, his emotionlessness makes total serve, and while a better actor could have done more with it, it was still decent. The mom and kid were miles away the best, but thankfully the weirdest acting was reserved for those with the snakes part, you'll know once you watch it, it was none of those i already mentioned, saying who may ruin part of the plot.

The direction was serviceable, not spectacular, but cinematography was great, some may not appreciate the lingering shots, but I find them effective and enjoyable, not distracting. For a movie this low budget, the cinematography is heads and tails above where it should be, and it gives the film a very classy feel.

This is a movie that fans of well-made low budget films will enjoy, slower-paced films, and fans of well-made low-key thrillers. Anyone else should steer clear, you will absolutely hate it, which is truly a Shame. I hope Mike Williams mashes more films and learns from his mustaches this go round, if he does, he will go on to make some truly great films.

God Bless ~Amy
The Ungrateful Dead
Ray (Michael LaCour), Vera (Virginia Newcomb) and their son Sam (Cannon Bosarge) stay in their home. There is a mystery as to what is going on. Seasoned horror film viewers should have an inkling in the first two minutes, feel certain by 20 minutes and not, it is revealed half way through the feature. Vera does not sleep in the same bed as her husband. Ray is reading a book on the atonement of the dead and people are yelling at them to get out. Vera keeps taking a picture down which goes back up. Pictures of another family show up. Every possible clue short of Nicole Kidman.

There are clues as to what happened dropped early. Not too hard to figure out. Characters were a boring and I found the demons too stereotypical to be frightening....dark figures from the closet.
Not About Getting Fit As The Title Suggest
A couple and their son are having several issues trying to keep the family together as they seem distant and full of tension. While attempting this their house appears to be haunted with all of them seeing ghosts. What they soon find out is that they are the ghosts and they can't leave the house. They need to figure out how to move on before the creepy shadow creatures get them.

This had an interesting premise that was kind of like a serious Beetlejuice but it never reaches its full potential. It was neat how the ghosts still need to eat and sleep so they have to rely on whatever the living people own or get as groceries. The film however is an incredible slow, boring burner. I don't think anyone will watch this twice. It is a very depressing flick as well. The ghost family was lucky the other family never moved out which would've left them with nothing!
Watch the Atoning
After watching The Atoning, I can without hesitation recommend this film. It builds a tension that quickly unfold with a clever twist and an adequate climax. The performances are all enjoyable especial the young child who is great. The demons are mysterious and very "Jaws" like which is refreshing in a genre that is usually way over the top.
Negative reviews by dribbling, driveling morons, as usual
This film is very low budget, and slightly stilted in a couple of places.

It still works, and works quite well.

It has a similar plot line to a major Hollywood release starring a terrible actress. I can't give its name without revealing plot details.

But that piece of crap is a multi-million dollar budget toss-fest, and 'The Atoning' is better than it.

Story builds.

Nice foreshadowing.


A couple of tasteful jump-scares.

Special FX effort and money spent where it matters, not scattered willy nilly to try and polish a Spielberg or Whacko-Cows-on-Skis turd.

Soundtrack carefully subdued and only 'kicks' where it's needed.

ACTUAL PLOT! (They hired a writer.)

Extra twist, a good one, at no extra cost!

But now, we come to the problem with tiny budget films, especially intelligent ones that go over dribbling, driveling morons' heads as 'The Atoning' did.

It is this -

They have no promotional clout whatsoever.

The other day I went searching, and found what I was looking for. Sites, services and individuals that offer to give lots of positive reviews, on IMDb and other review sites, for money. I knew they existed but I had to convince myself. They do. They're real. And I don't doubt for a moment they can deliver what they offer.

Thus it is possible for Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Meth, or Dreamcatcher, or anything starring Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman, to have an IMDb score higher than 1.

I think if the world of reviews was an honest world, few films would get above 5.

'The Atoning' deserves the 7 I'm giving it.

Eat me.



An Entertaining Film
I'm no critic, and I'm not looking for a literary masterpiece. I enjoyed this film, and had no expectations. I found myself caught up most of the time, and a little tense at times. I highly recommend this film if you want to be entertained for a little while. I'm not exactly sure what category or genre I'd place this film into, but it has elements of horror and drama for sure. Watch it!
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