Throughout the first half of February, you’re left wondering what’s going on. Things don’t make sense, things don’t add up, and nothing feels right. It borders on frustrating, but never quite gets there. That’s because Oz Perkins, who wrote and directed the film, exhibits time and again that he knows what he’s doing behind the camera. We’ll follow.

Then, you reach s a moment where everything clicks and you figure out what’s going on, and you realize you’re watching a semi-masterclass in storytelling. I’m not going to say more, because I won’t spoil movies and don’t even want to allude to a hint. Know that the events unfold in a way that feels natural (and also happens to be terrifically suspenseful).

That’s impressive on its own, but even more so when you consider that February is Perkins’ first directorial effort. There’s a confidence in his filmmaking that comes through his movie. I can’t wait to see what he does next, considering he told the Fantastic Fest crowd he learned as he went and knows he could do a lot better throughout this movie.

February is a quiet horror movie, and one that Perkins described as “sad.” He set out to make a horror movie that matched the tone of films like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Let the Right One In, and Carrie. As far as I’m concerned, he nailed it. The film takes a little while to get where it’s headed, but give it a chance. It’s worth your time.