The Empty Man

Director: David Prior
Year Released: 2020
Rating: 2.5

Former police officer James Lasombra (James Badge Dale) - who's working at a hardware store - goes looking for a missing girl named Amanda (Sasha Frolova) in order to calm down her widowed mother Nora (Marin Ireland), only to find out there's a cult called the Pontifix Institute (run by Stephen Root) that's trying to communicate with a supernatural entity.  While it's able to sustain a steady wave of dread for its over-extended running time (which is impressive) and avoids easy tricks like jump scares to startle the viewer, I'm not fully sure it's able to totally weave together the combination of Internet-generated creepypasta and what is clearly an attack on Scientology, leading to a messy ending that skips around here and there just to try to "tie" it all together.  Still, it's one of the better horror movies I've bothered watching in the last couple of years, and Dale's a strong lead.  Side note: I would love to teach at Jacques Derrida High School ... are they hiring?