Written and Directed by Chris Sparling
From the box:
Dr. Henry West founded The Atticus Institute in the early 1970s to test individuals expressing supernatural abilities – E.S.P., clairvoyance, psychokinesis, etc. Despite witnessing several noteworthy cases, nothing could have prepared Dr. West and his colleagues for Judith Winstead. She outperformed every subject they had ever studied – soon gaining the attention of the U.S. Department of Defense, who subsequently took control of the research facility. The more experiments they conducted on Judith, the clearer it became that her abilities were the manifestation of evil forces within her, prompting the government to take measures to weaponize this force. But they soon discovered there are powers that exist in this world that simply cannot be controlled. Now the details of the inexplicable events that occurred within The Atticus Institute are being made public after remaining classified for nearly forty years.
Special Features: The Making of The Atticus Institute, Deleted Scenes
I love movies about possessions, and demons (heck I wrote one), and I am even more curious when one is presented in the form of a documentary as is The Atticus Institute. Full of interviews with doctors and family members and mixed with footage from the experiments and sessions with Judith Windstead, The Atticus Institute has an air of authenticity about it. The filmmakers did a really great job of building the reality of the story and the events they depict.
Unfortunately, I am taken out of it far too easily when I see recognizable faces in the roles of the doctors. It was hard for me to fully imerse into the story when I am hearing it from the mouth of one of the president’s on 24. Yeah that might be nitpicky and I bet most people don’t even notice it, and I hope that is the case because had I not gotten taken out of the film I might have loved it a lot more than I did.
Look, it’s a good movie. It has some good scares and some great effects. The filmmakers did a really good job with it. The script is good, it’s well shot and I give many props to Chris Sparling for his work. I just wish the reality would have held up better by a cast of entirely unknowns.
Side note: I didn’t know this was the same guy that did Buried, which was fantastic, and now I will be sure to watch his other movie ATM.
I will definitely point out that Rya Kihlstedt was excellent. She played Judith Winstead with such precision and dedication that you’d question whether it was a performance at all. She was fantastic and sold it big time.
The blu-ray is a little light on features but makes up for it in quality. The picture and sound are great and both are VERY important to the film, sound especially. The film really looks great and the segments that take place in the 70s look authentic.
In reality my only real complaint is the miscasting. Everyone in the film does great I just wish I didn’t know who any of them were. Still, hats off to the cast and crew for turning in a successful twist on found footage genre. It’s scary and entertaining and despite my nitpicking, very much worth a watch with all of the lights off.
The Atticus Institute is available now.
PS you can get the Blu-ray for $10 from AMAZON as I write this.
8/10 Frog Hearts
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.