The Faith of Anna Waters

I don’t typically want to watch horror movies because well, they scare me. But being the son of a huge horror fan, I have been coerced into my fair share of horror movies. Though I would usually be home, hidden behind my pillow fort with all the lights on. So it is rare that you would spot me catching a horror movie at the cinema, a dark, quiet place with my legs exposed over the chair and things could potentially jump out of the screen.

However, my mum really wanted to watch it. I saw the trailer and it seemed really scary, but there was Adrian Pang, a local actor I quite admired and my mum promised me that we would watch Zootopia after so I complied.

[DISCLAIMER: CONTAINS SPOILERS]

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‘The Faith of Anna Waters’ is about a Chicago-based reporter, Jamie Waters, whose sister in Singapore died in mysterious circumstances. So, she travels to Singapore and discovers a chain of deaths linked to her sister’s and solves the mystery behind this phenomenon. After some digging, she and her brother-in-law uncover the link between the deaths and a demon.

Directed by Singaporean director Kelvin Tong (It’s A Great Great World, The Maid), The Faith of Anna Waters is Singapore’s first Hollywood-financed movie, a big step for Singaporean filmmakers and it definitely did not disappoint.

Essentially a demonic hunting movie with biblical references, the concept itself isn’t particularly new, but despite so, the movie still has its twists and is not in the least bit predictable, managing to shine through with the actors and cinematography.

The movie had many creative ideas and one of the most aggressive supernatural antagonist characters ever. We rarely see the ‘ghost’ character so active in a film, such as dripping blood from directly above, or literally pulling sheets off of people but this film just quite managed to change that up. The trampoline scene in particular was a creative new idea and they executed it well enough to scare me. One twist I liked was that this was one of the first horror movies whereby the demon did not get expelled by the pastor and even managed to overpower him.

The plot of the movie was quite easy to understand. There were multiple ongoing storylines, they were each meaningful and when they all linked together at the end, it made for a mind-blowing ending.

One new thing about the supernatural in this film that I’ve not seen before is the use of technology. In the movie, it hacks into church websites to send a message and how it identifies new victims is through deleting contacts from the computer. The whole idea of using technology is quite new and refreshing, helping it to stand out from the clichéd horror movies we see everywhere.

The casting choices are impeccable. Adina Herz is about the eeriest and creepiest little girl you’ll ever meet. She played the role of Katie perfectly, when she was cute, she was adorable. But when she got possessed and was dragged into the basement by the demon, her sinister smile was haunting. While the main roles were played by Hollywood actors, many familiar local faces also made their way into the film, including Adrian Pang, Pamelyn Chee and Phua Chu Kang’s Tan Kheng Hua.

Despite being a media student, I am not the biggest film fanatic so I might be easier to impress but the special effects seemed really well made to me. From the doll bouncing on the trampoline, to the dripping blood from the ceiling demon, to the characters flying from one corner of the room to the other from the demon’s power, it was all quite spectacular to me.

I am definitely not the right person to trust for a scary rating but this was proper scary to me. Despite watching most of it from behind my fingers, scenes from the movie still manage to creep into my head days after.

I didn’t end up watching Zootopia after but I was fine with it. Overall, I would still call it a great movie and recommend watching it. This is Singapore’s first collaboration with Hollywood and if I were the one making the shots, this definitely wouldn’t be the last.

I realize the movie isn’t out in Singapore till May 12 (I watched it in Malaysia) so, be sure to catch it when it’s out! In the meantime, check out the trailer for The Faith of Anna Waters below!

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