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Sundance review: Steven Soderbergh’s PRESENCE is a haunting tale of otherworldly intrigue

Director Steven Soderbergh has never shied away from pushing the boundaries of cinema, and with his new film Presence, tells the story of a haunted house in a truly unique way. This creative horror film takes a bold step by telling its chilling story entirely from the point of view of a supernatural spirit haunting a suburban home. While the film boasts an intriguing concept, it fails to reach its full potential due to an unnecessary subplot that never finds a resolution.

Presence centers on a family who moves into a seemingly peaceful suburban house, only to be struck by the unnerving certainty that they are not alone. Steven Soderbergh, known for his legendary career as a director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer and editor, brings his distinctive energy to the project making it an immersive cinematic experience.

The film has an eerie atmosphere and Soderbergh’s masterful use of a single location creates a sense of claustrophobic dread. The haunting story unfolds with a sense of relentless tension, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.

However, Presence stumbles when it comes to the subplot involving the parents. This narrative thread feels disjointed from the main story and ultimately leads nowhere, and left me wondering why it was included. It’s a confusing decision on Soderbergh’s part, as the time spent on this subplot could have been better used in developing the central characters and the situation they found themselves in.

As a fan of Soderbergh and his cinematic work, it’s disappointing to see such a misstep in an otherwise promising film. The main concept, the innovative perspective of the supernatural and the way it is shot are all commendable. However, the unresolved subplot detracts from the overall experience, preventing Presence from achieving greatness.

Presence is an emotional cinematic journey that showcases Soderbergh’s unique vision and storytelling ability. It offers genuine thrills and a compelling main story, but its potential is ruined by an unnecessary subplot. While not without its flaws, Presence still manages to leave a lingering sense of unease, making it worth a watch for both horror buffs and Soderbergh fans.

by Joey Paur
Source: Geek Tyrant

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