No Way Out
Vera (Virginia Newcomb), her husband Ray (Michael LaCour) and their young son Sam (Cannon Bosarge) live in a nice home but things are very strained between Vera and Ray which has a knock on effect with Sam who suffers from nightmares and visions. He is not alone as both Vera and Ray suffer similar spooky goings on with pictures in their home being changed and books on shelves being switch whilst these strange people appear to enter their room and scream at them.
I will stop that synopsis there partly because I had better say spoiler now before I go on. Now maybe it is because I watch a lot of movies but by about 20 minutes into "The Atoning" I had worked out what was going on when it comes to why this family are not only experiencing strange goings on but are unable to leave despite their being conflict between the adults with Vera making it very clear she hates the house. As such it doesn't take a lot of intelligence to work out who the spooks are in this movie especially as there are other movies which have played about with the same idea.
But in truth "The Atoning" is not about the twist but more about how Vera, Ray and Sam ended up in this predicament as well as seeing how they are affected by being stuck in limbo. I should mention that whilst I said spoiler alert at the mid point in to the movie it tells us what is going on and as such there is no big wow moment when suddenly pieces fall in to place and are eyes are opened to what is going on. The thing is that whilst the focus is on the situation and the conflict between the characters this movie is so slow going that it ends up becoming painful to watch, seemingly stretching out an idea to fill 90 minutes. And in fairness it is a shame as during the final third it comes up with some interesting ideas as well as reveals over what happened to leave them in this situation but it might have lost you before it gets there due to the slowness.
What this all boils down to is that "The Atoning" takes a familiar theme and throws some good ideas at it. Unfortunately anything which is good about it is lost thanks to it being painfully slow which gets to the point it might lose you before it gets to any of the good stuff.