This film is terrible. There's nothing more I can say about that. It is sad that there is a considerable amount of talent infront of the camera, specifically from Naomi Watts and Charlie Heaton, and also a fanatastic cinematographer that at least managed to shine this turd as much as they can, but so much of this film was agonising.
The main issues with this film can be chalked up to two things: repetitive and dumb writing, and a constant disconnect between audience and story.
The same things repeat over and over in this movie:
There are SO FRICKING MANY dream sequences, specifically in the first 30 minutes that it grew tired, and resulted in a lot of fake scares that add nothing to the story.
The conversations between Naomi Watts and Oliver Platt are the same every time: "I'm having issues sleeping", "Well, you're under a lot of a stress", "Yeah I am, I thinking of sending Stephen away", "Well, that would be understandable", times 5 again.
Conversations between characters reveal nothing new, and is filled with dialogue that play like Tommy Wiseau's The Room in that they are catchphrases, and offer only stilted interactions.
The finale is the worst - the actual worst. The bad guy gets hit in the head SO...MANY...TIMES, and every time, they pretend like he's dead and not finish him off, while Naomi Watts leaves the kid played by Jacob Tremblay alone twice and you're all like "Why ARE you leaving him there?!"
The screenplay sadly does waste an excellent cinematographer on repetitive dialogue, uninspired set-pieces that remind me too much of The Shining albeit worse and with way less snow (seriously, why do people act like they're cut off with snow about 6 inches deep?) and a twist SO dumb it begs belief. It's when this twist is revealed that people who may have cared by this point will walk out. Embarrassing.
So, this twist has to be told to be believed. The plot of the movie is that Naomi Watts plays Mary, a child therapist, and is looking after her stepson Stephen played by Stranger Things' Charlie Heaton after he was paralysed in a car crash that killed her husband. While treating Tom, played by Jacob Tremblay, he goes missing and she starts to have weird night terrors. It's revealed about halfway into this mess that Stephen isn't actually paralysed - he's just pretending to be. Furthermore, it's stated that the doctor's at the hospital just accepted it and didn't ask why. Then, when Mary starts treating Tom, he gets jealous and locks Tom in the basement of the house, and the night terrors are a result of Mary being continuously drugged every day with Stephen's meds.
Admittedly, it is quite cool in this part of the movie to watch Charlie Heaton who is so quiet and nuanced on Stranger Things just go completely nuts here and just have fun, but it still doesn't help how certain characters are killed off inconsequently, or in the case of Oliver Platt, is fatally stabbed only to survive an additional 10 minutes to give basic as f**k instructions so Mary and Tom can live.
Oddly enough, even though this is a terrible film, it is a great first watch just to say you sat down and watched it, and laugh at its dumbass progression. Like I said, great cinematography, fun from Watts and Heaton, everything else is the worst.