Viewed – 31 October 2014 Netflix
So how was I going to celebrate Halloween this year? Well other than some people dressing up at work, a few trick or treaters knocking my door … the easy option was to settle down with a horror movie. I was recommended this by a friend and it tells the tale of a family man, still mourning the death of his wife who inherits a house from an uncle he never had anything to do with. Turns out this uncle was into the occult big-time and went about finding and imprisoning various spirits within his labyrinthine house. So sets the stage for a haunted house horror with a twist, where the house it’s self is an elaborate puzzle box that said family man and his daughter (the yummy Shannon Elizabeth) and son have to figure their way out of.
The casting here isn’t great. Mostly TV actors along with Scream’s Matthew Lillard (still as annoying as he ever was) as well and Monk and the girl who liked to run around in her underwear a lot in Scary Movie and American Pie (Elizabeth). But at least we get a brilliantly designed fairground attraction of a house complete with art-decor stylings and plenty of creepy mystery. The various ghosts are also quite imaginative and boast some cool make-up effects (clearly where much of this movie’s budget went).
What is sad however is just how tame it all was, and there’s only really one decent kill and a complete lack of genuine danger (the ghosts are fairly inept at actually harming anyone…acting more like circus attractions). F. Murray Abraham lends a little bit of thespian weight to proceedings but overall this was a glossy, yet Saw-light sort of experience that failed to bare it’s teeth.
Verdict: 2 /5