“The Atticus Institute” – A Film Review

*** Spoiler Alert ***

The Atticus Institute is a mockumentary styled horror film. It has some found footage moments, but it’s not overly shaking (which I know some folks hate). It was written and directed by Chris Sparling, who also wrote the 2010 film Buried staring Ryan Reynolds. Chris had won a few awards for “Best Original Screenplay” for Buried, giving me high hopes for this one. The producer on the film was Peter Safran, who produced The Conjuring and Annabelle. The Atticus Institute did not disappoint.

I am a big fan of horror, specifically paranormal type movies. I had heard about this movie from watching horror movie trailers on YOUTUBE. Nine times out of ten I never give a movie a thought, just move on to the next trailer. The Atticus Institute grabbed me right off the bat. The Atticus Institute was built to study E.S.P. and psychokinesis, which is something that has always fascinated me. We have all been told the myth that we only use 10% of our brain. Although actual research shows we use use all of it, there has always been the thought of “what if there are things we can do that we just aren’t aware of?” Such as fly, or telekinesis. I think that is a big reason that superhero styled movies do so well with the general public. Deep down we all want to be able to do amazing things, and what would be crazier then moving things with your mind?!

The Atticus Institute does a great job of bringing you into that situation, and shows you different scenarios with different test subjects. One person can do this, one can do that, some they debunk as fake and so on. It does a good job of making it seem like an actual documentary about a real institute. There are interviews and testimonials from people, but it comes off very real. That’s when Judith Winstead comes in. They can’t explain the things she does, and she excels at everything they throw at her. Judith is played SUPERBLY by Rya Kihlstedt who you may recognize from Dexter or Nashville.

Judith is special, and her powers are far superior to anyone they institute has seen. Eventually the doctors are forced to inform the U.S. government, who comes in and takes over. The premise of the film becomes it is the only case of possession that the U.S. government has ever confirmed. Which is a neat concept in it’s own right. We have many movies that have the U.S. government with knowledge about aliens, or we have movies about possession that is more concerned with being confirmed through the Catholic or Christian church. I just thought it was an interesting concept, and in having the U.S. government come in, they did exactly what one would imagine they would. They tried to convert her into a weapon.

I won’t go into too much more detail as I don’t want to fully spoil anything. But for me it was a breath of fresh air in the genre. Everything seems to be low budget found footage type films now. And I do like that style, but it’s hard to stand out. I believe The Atticus Institute does just that. It’s very simple, but very stylishly done. Rya knocks it out of the park, you honestly think she is possessed. Add in some camera tricks and you got yourself a movie!

Story: 2.5/3
Acting: 2.8/3
Effects: 2.8/3
Magic: .8/1

Dr. Henry West gladly gives it 8.9 out of 10… but you knew that already.

Enjoy the flick,