It is surprising how we have so few thoughts about this movie. Where was the horror? Where was the plot? And finally, where was the movie? It was really just a bunch of jump scares thrown together for a group of people in a house, whose conclusion was so vanilla that it was literally nothing. If you are going to make a movie that doesn’t offer anything new, at least it should be derivative the right way. The minimum requirement is that, if nothing else, you at least finish the story. The point of making a movie in the horror genre is not just to tell us that a ghost exists but to drive home the terror of their presence and what it means for the people involved. Why else would one want to watch something scary if not for this twisted excitement? “Ammar” misses this point and results in, well, “Ammar.” Let’s take a look at how little the movie offers.
How Farid Gets Possessed?
“Ammar” begins with Farid and his family moving to a new house after he loses his job. The family has relocated for the purpose of starting a new life, and they are quite hopeful for the future. Farid, his wife Dina, and their children Maged, Noor, and Talia like the house and start settling in. However, things are not quite right, specifically with Talia and Farid. Farid looks for new jobs but is disappointed with the first 2 to 3 rejections. He was fired from his previous workplace after 15 years of service when the company started downsizing. Dina reassures him that he has a strong resume and that he will soon be employed if he keeps trying.
On the other hand, they hire two people, Mahmoud and Fatima, to help them around the house. However, both of them state that they will not be staying after sundown, at any cost. All seems to be going well, except for the fact that Farid has trouble sleeping and stays up painting all night. Talia ends up making a friend, an imaginary one by the name of Ammar. When Dina sees this, she tells Talia that she can attend school soon and then make some real friends. Other than this, she is not bothered about that. However, Ammar is not the only person Talia seems to be seeing. At one point, while she is playing near the pool, we see a hand strangling her. Her family cannot see the ghost, but they see Talia gasping for air and rush to her aid after she falls unconscious. When she awakens, she doesn’t tell them what happened. It is at this time that Farid sees a reflection in the pool for the first time. His reaction to that is as though he knew about it. He does not even raise his eyebrows when he sees that. This could mean that the entity has started to make a place within him. It is also to be noted that this scene reveals that Ammar is not the only ghost in the house.
Farid is initially shown as quite a gentle guy who is strict with his kids but indulges them and is attentive to his wife. But through the course of the movie, as his dark circles deepen, so does his coldness towards his own family. At one point, he yells at his son for having friends over without his permission. It is surprising that he never talks about what is going wrong with him to anyone, even when he sees his own reflection wink at him and walk towards him with a knife. He starts spending all his nights painting and gives up looking for a job, to the utter indignation of Dina. Even his paintings are depictions of death and murder around the house. Probably the final straw is when he deliberately pushes Mahmoud into the pool and refuses to help him until his family shows up. This is when Fatima vows never to step foot again in their house, effectively leaving the family alone with each other.
It is important to note that the ghosts only seem to be haunting Talia and Farid. None of the others seem to have even a hint that something could be wrong, except for Dina, who, being the mother and wife, keeps observing the two of them. She asks Fatima why she refuses to work in the house after the sun sets. Fatima reveals that the house has a reputation for bad things happening. A few years ago, some people were shooting a movie in the house, and all of them died for inexplicable reasons. Since then, people have maintained their distance. Add to this, the fact that Dina discovers mysterious symbols beneath the wallpaper in one of the rooms that end up scaring her and drives home her conviction that something is definitely wrong with the place.
Ending Explained: Who Is Ammar? Does The Family Make It Out Alive?
To answer the second question first, when Dina discovers the symbols, she does her research on the Internet and comes to know that they are used in devil worship. She also finds a video on Youtube of the film crew where one person shoots all of them. How such a thing was available online, we do not understand. She goes to Farid and tells him that they must leave immediately, but he holds her back and says that they will be right where they are. Scared, she agrees. But she goes to the room where he has been spending all of his time recently and finds that his paintings are of one person murdering everyone. She figures out that Farid is possessed and rushes to wake up her children, telling them that all of them must leave immediately. But they are caught by Farid, who is completely possessed, and he holds Talia with a knife to her throat. As his youngest daughter cries, we see Farid fighting the possession with the memories of his family until the spirit leaves his body. The children silently step out of the house, and Dina supports them and brings them outside, where her brother is waiting to take them away. The family makes it out alive by the skin of their teeth.
“Ammar” ends with the ghost boy, Ammar, looking out the window, joined by a ghost girl. We get no explanation as to who he might be, and there is not enough material for us to come up with a conclusion of our own. We know that these weren’t the only ghosts in the house, considering the one that attacked Talia and possessed Farid, but we get no glimpse of them. So this was an hour and a half of watching a family get somewhat scared due to the place they live in.
Final Thoughts: Why This Horror Movie Goes So Wrong?
There was really zero effort. It is as if the makers aimed for a crossover between “The Amityville Horror” and “The Haunting of the Hill House” and then decided to leave it halfway. Most horror movies that haven’t bothered to be imaginative use the ‘devil-worshipping mother’ as an excuse for the present haunting. “Ammar,” probably in a bid to do something new, or maybe knowing that it had literally nothing new to offer, decided to not waste 10 minutes of the viewer’s time and just not give a backstory to the ghosts. We don’t know whether to applaud or roll our eyes at this decision. This movie doesn’t even do enough to rake up proper criticism. So, how can we say any more than this? It was just sad to watch because when it comes to horror movies, the Middle East, especially Turkey and Egypt, have been considered reliable to produce decent content. But “Ammar” was less than nothing, and we are severely disappointed.
“Ammar” is a 2020 Arabic Horror Film directed by Mahmoud Kamel.