I grew up in a very fundamentalist Christian environment. It was one of those situations where everything was part of God's plan, and questioning and wondering and thinking anything not approved by the church was a sin that would lead me astray and allow Satan into my life. As such, this movie really hit me. It's about a small town not unlike the one where I grew up, a small town where the people trust the local pastor with everything and they believe what he says about God being in control. Well, one day, a young man comes back from the war very troubled, and he meets with the pastor for "counseling," and then he winds up dead, and people blame his mother for killing him. Around this time, the young people of the town find a book that contains evil spirits, and as they mess around with the powers of the book, the kids begin killing themselves. This leads the main character, a young girl named Lindsay, to question her faith. Meanwhile, the pastor doesn't like the evil taking over his town, so he takes steps to stop it, and these two opposing forces begin to converge and the structure that has allowed the town to survive for years falls apart.
I must say, I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's not so much a demon speaking to these kids as it's voices in their heads telling them to question the things they've always believed, and they can't handle this, so they break down. I've been through that. I had more than one book, I had tons of novels and movies and music,things that made me question the things my church told me. When I first got to college the church I attended here had a "cleansing event" where the pastor brought all his non-Christian CDs and burned them in a bonfire, and he invited all of us to do the same with our books or music, anything that separated us from God by making us think "evil things." Of course, I did it, but looking back on in now, it wasn't that the songs I listened to or the books I read or the movies I watched told me that there wasn't a God, it was that they challenged me to move beyond my narrow little world and look at things differently from the way I'd always been taught. That was hard for me (it still is, every day) and in this way I can really relate to the teens in this movie, starting to think about what they've always believed and scared to move beyond that.
In this movie, the evil is not picky, it talks to the kids starting to question their faith, but it also talks to the hardcore Christians and whispers to them what they have to do to get rid of the evil in their town. The Christians think they're listening to the voice of God, and the other kids think it's the voice of the devil,and meanwhile, the evil book is just setting them all up and watching them fall. It's pretty grim and harrowing.
I never really expect a little low-budget horror flick to make me think like this, but I appreciate it just the same.