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The Forgotten (2004)
Rated PG13

Starring: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, and Gary Sinise

Rating:
***1/2
out of
*****

After the disappointment of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, I tried not to be too excited about The Forgotten, which I first learned about -- strangely enough -- from a trailer attached to The Village. It looked creepy and sufficiently eerie, but so did The Village trailer -- which, so far, has turned out to be the most misleading trailer of the year. Thankfully, The Forgotten manages to be eerie, creepy and chock full of some jump-scares that will make your chest ache for a few hours afterwards.

As the film opens, we meet Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore, in fine form), a grieving mother who lost her only son in a plane crash. Slowly, the items left behind by her son -- photographs, personal belongings, etc -- begin to disappear. She believes her husband (Anthony Edwards) is behind the missing personal effects because he fears that she doesn't want to let go of her son and move on with her life. But when her psychologist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), tells her that she may have created the entire memory of her son, she refuses to believe him. When she encounters Ash (Dominic West), the father of one of her son's friends, she finds that he doesn't think he's had a daughter. Suddenly, after a bit of prodding, he remembers her. Surely, Telly and Ash can't have made up two children's existence. So where did they go? And that's all I'll say about the plot.

Director Joseph Ruben, who did such a great job with the 1987 suburban thriller The Stepfather, ratchets up the suspense by throwing the viewer off-kilter with jump-scares that come out of nowhere. The screenplay by Gerald Di Pego, who's previous credits include The Trial of the Incredible Hulk and Phenomenon, may unfold like an episode of The Twilight Zone or The X-Files but it's well-worth the price of admission to see it do so. Once the plot settles in and you seem to think you understand what's going on, you'll be blown out of your seat by something totally unforeseen.

The Forgotten is a true cinematic roller-coaster ride and a fun date-movie/thriller like this has been due for quite some time. Just don't try to analyze it afterwards.

Trivia: Linus Roache, who plays "Friendly Man", can also be seen in Batman Begins and The Chronicles of Riddick. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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