Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
A group of dumb teens in search of their weekly dose of cheap thrills decide to spend the night in a notorious haunted house, where years earlier a few brutal murders took place.
Is it good movie?
HELL HOUSE comes from Brain Damage Films – appropriate because that’s more or less what I was experiencing after watching the movie. This alleged horror film starts out at least coherently, and then becomes an endurance test for most of its 79 minute running time. The picture quality is borderline terrible, and the sound mix is the worst I have heard in quite a while, with some cringe-worthy songs on the soundtrack that often completely drown out the dialogue. This is one of those films where I could not comprehend why the director (Jason Morris) was making ANY of the choices he was making. It all adds up to something very amateur. It's too bad, with the subtitle and talk of incantations and demons I thought this might be a bit of an EVIL DEAD homage. Or, at least a movie that has fun with itself. No such luck.
What to say about the film? Well, we meet our boring lead characters who are drawn to the spooky haunted house. Ten years prior, two frisky young lovers were killed by the girl’s father in front of the house (in what is maybe the movie’s one effective scene). Local rumor has it that the spirits of the lovers still hang around the house. I guess the “lead” is Paul (Mike Carlisi). Both Paul and his girlfriend Dani (Sheila Kraics) seem to have trouble with their drunk and/or abusive fathers. The “jerk dad” theme permeates a lot of the film - and while it’s nice to see a film with serious intentions, any attempts made to be disturbing fall flat on their face. Watching out for our idiot teens is a tarot-reading soothsayer played by Kari Wishingrad, in just one many horrible performances offered up here. Of course, there are a few possessions, cast members get offed, and it also seems that someone else is stalking around the house.
Like I said, HELL HOUSE is hard on the eyes and the ears. I’m not sure what type of camera it was shot on but the picture quality is often grainy and fuzzed-out. When any special effects are on display, the visuals become so blurred it becomes incomprehensible. But pretty much all of the directing, editing and music choices are baffling. There is no sense of tension at any point during the entire movie. There’s some nudity and even a girl-on-girl scene, thrown in as a feeble attempt to keep you interested. Nothing about HELL HOUSE worked for me.
Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 16:9
Audio Dolby Stereo
Commentary with Director Jason Morris and Executive Producer Jeremia Draper I had to listen just to see what these guys had to say about the film. They were unable to convince me of their vision. It’s not a very lively track either.
Behind the Scenes & Cast Interviews A 27-minute feature that mostly cuts back and forth between a cast discussion and painful clips from the movie.
Production Interviews Another 34 minutes of interviews with people who worked on the film. Why can’t there be this much bonus footage for movies I actually like?
A HILARIOUS Music Video for a song called “Sexual Vampire” by Chris Heaven.
There’s also three Deleted Scenes, Storyboards, a Trailer, and two Short Films also from Brain Damage Films.
HELL HOUSE is a terrible, terrible movie. Avoid at all costs.