First David King gets thrown out by his unseen girlfriend and then he ends up buying a house with wicked history (wish I had a trust fund like that). His real estate buddy has a deal for him when he sells him a house that sits next door to a place with a real life murder scene, and now the ghosts are in full haunting mode.
Location, location, location… not only in real estate, but in horror, it can add a whole lotta spooky to a film. Imagine a film shot only a few doors down from the famous Sharon Tate murder house, when Charles Manson’s
“family” created a very dark history in Hollywood. Now imagine a horror movie about a guy who moves into a house just down the street from the famous DeWitt murders (based on the real life counterpart). If you can do that, you may conjure up the ghostly mayhem of House at the End of the Drive
. When David King first moves into his dream home, everything seems terrific. That is until the dog starts barking at empty spaces. Ghostly voices plead for help on the intercom. And the ghost of one of the men murdered shows up at David’s doorstep. All this makes for good old fashioned fun. And since the house in the film actually is one of the neighboring homes to where Sharon Tate
and her friends were brutally murdered, there is a sense of heightened eeriness.
When David, played by the often shirtless James Oliver
has his real estate buddy Robert and his longtime girlfriend, Felicia (Jonathan Mangum
and Angela Jones
) over for a night of dinner and conversation, they are joined by one of her co-workers named Jennifer, played by Alison Raimondi
. All of this makes for an almost Byronesque sequence of ghost stories when they decide to uncover the history of the house at the end of the drive. They soon discover that Jennifer’s aunt was the actress murdered back in 1969. Curiosity gets the best of them when they decide to go to the house where the murders happened. All of this makes for a nifty ghost story and much of it works. I liked all the actors here, aside from the barfing policeman in the beginning. James Oliver has a likeability factor that keeps you on his side. He basically plays the female in distress yet the sex has been reversed, and he plays it well without coming across as “faking” it. His work here is very good considering much of the first act is only him and his dog Sebastian. I also like the inclusion of Alison Raimondi, she is also very convincing and quite pretty. Both she and James have strong chemistry even if the relationship seemed oddly written.
This is the kind of movie that starts off strong and ends on a pretty good note. They even throw Lance Henriksen in a contrived cameo, but this guy just bleeds credibility. Too bad he is only in it for one scene. Now the biggest problem I had with this flick is the grab bag mentality. Its part slasher, part ghost story and part science fiction with some "time vortex" mumbo-jumbo. When the characters decide to sneak into the murder house, they are stuck in some sort of time switch back to the night of the murders. That is when it feels a bit like an Unsolved Mysteries
reenactment. I also found many of the choices made by the characters to be odd… just the fact that blood pours out of the toilet and ghosts seem to be appearing left and right, yet they still want to go into that house… on the anniversary of the murders!? Okay, never mind. I probably would too. I also had an issue with the over used “dream sequence” to cover up the lack of scares in the beginning. Honestly, the film would have been creepier without all the cheap special effects and maybe less explanation about the time warp thingy (a cheesy reenactment on a website).
House at the End of the Drive is a sometimes creepy tale of a murder that won’t let its victims rest in peace. This is a moderately well directed film with a group of actors that give a good show. But the script gets a bit too strange at times and takes you away from the fact that… this is a creepy house in a creepy setting that would have made a really scary movie if it had gone for the less is more approach… the special effects really cheapened the look and almost always took me out of the moment. But it is an interesting idea to play with a true crime storyline and not do another remake/sequel but create an original, if slightly off-beat chiller. The horror here may make a couple of you jump (if for the loud music alone) and the uniqueness and worthy actors are reason enough to take a walk down to the end of the drive, but once will be enough.