by Shrub 3/30/08
is an independent haunted house movie that advance advertising has billed
as “a clear alternative to the glut of ‘torture
Fear House isn’t a stalk and slash flick, but an above average, low budget haunted house chiller. The first half-hour flails around a bit with awkward dialog and bland jokes, but this is just a get-to-know the victims portion of the story. Once we get into the vengeful ghost action, the movie rights itself nicely. Fear House then runs the horror gauntlet: creepy, scary and gory.
The story involves an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere that teenagers like to go to and make out in (it’s more fun when the ghosts watch!) until an author moves in. The realtor tells the new resident that the boarded up basement is unfinished, but she still takes it and the realtor high-tails it out of there. Months later a couple of carloads drive out to the house after not hearing from the author (Samantha), to see if she is ok. They get inside easily enough, only to find a wigged out Samantha under a table. She eventually comes around enough to tell the story of the house.
The house has a history of a, uh, broken family, a father who killed his wife and then boarded his own daughter down in the basement. The daughter, Anna Lisa, has never left the house (Ooh goody, the little girl ghost trick, now we’re having fun). Before we know it, the house goes to work on the gang, and is pulling dark skeletons out of their closets in between the slicing and dicing.
I had a good time watching Fear House. The gimmick is that it knows what you’re afraid of and plays on that. It loses this a little (I was expecting everyone to be killed by their biggest fear, one by one, and while partially true, that’s not exactly how it turns out) but I didn’t find it to be affected adversely for it. It definitely gets better as it goes along so don’t give up on this one. We end up with a decent story, some pretty good scares and that other 80’s horror staple, an ending with a twist.