Though it opens with an impressive amount of promise, Terrified quickly (and perhaps inevitably) establishes itself as just another tedious ghost-based horror movie that dwells far too long on the less-than-engrossing exploits of its human characters. It’s a shame, really, given that the picture kicks off with a creepy and thoroughly captivating first act rife with creepy, suspenseful moments and appreciatively brutal bursts of carnage, as filmmaker Demi├ín Rugna initially does a solid job of establishing the paranormal threat and the impact it has on a few disparate characters. (One figure, for example, meets in exceedingly gruesome end within her own bathroom.) Once Terrified progresses into its disconcertingly disjointed midsection, however, it becomes more and more difficult to work up any interest in or enthusiasm for any of this – with Rugna’s decision to shift the focus to a trio of bland paranormal investigators certainly compounding the arms-length atmosphere (ie there are just so many sequences in which they explore and attempt to figure out what’s going on). The increasingly generic vibe ensures that Terrified peters out long before it reaches its somewhat anticlimactic conclusion, which essentially (and effectively) cements the film’s place as a fairly run-of-the-mill horror effort that squanders an admittedly striking opening stretch.

** out of ****

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