#31in31 2017: Hell House LLC

“When anybody asks me what happened at Hell House, I say watch the video. You tell me.”

Story: A friendly gang of millennials who run Halloween horror houses decide to strike out from the big cities and head to Abbadon, PA. Their horror “haunt” that year is now known as the “2009 Haunted House Tour Tragedy”. Five years after what happened, an investigative reporter and her trusty cameraman find a survivor, who gives them the security and for-the-record tapes she’d held on to.  Roll that beautiful horror footage y’all!  I’m sure nothing bad will happen.

Scares:  Yes, many, and well done.

Splat factor: Most is kept under wraps, but there’s some red to be had.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Maybe, if you’re a newbie.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: As far as the found footage/fauxumentary genre can be, it’s original.

Trick or Treat?: What started as a “well, why not” film chosen out of late night boredom and lack of interest in anything else turned into a “next I’ma watch My Little Pony“. Bravo, movie. A great example of how to do low budget horror well.

While I continually forgot the names of the millennials that ran the Abbadon (HEH) Hotel’s haunt, that’s really not important.  Plus, I suck at remembering names anyway, so watching found-footage films are always rough for me in that regard.  C’mon y’all, use each other’s names more often!  Momma needs to figure out who you are!

I won’t give up everything, but let’s just say that the spooky clowns Our Gang uses for their haunt creeped me the hell out long before the real spooky went down.  Director Stephen Cognetti manages to take a bunch of well-worn tropes (Found Footage, House With A History, Spooky Abandoned Place, Last Survivor, etc.) and blend them into a film that really pays off.

While Our Gang does really stupid stuff – #1 on the list being actually staying around once things get weird – the overall feeling of unease increases bit by bit.  The history of the hotel is doled out slowly, with a lot of it left to the viewer’s imagination.  Clips from the “documentary” the reporter is working on let residents, survivors and law enforcement give their own, Rashomon-esque viewpoints on what happened and why.  Then there’s the found footage itself, giving peeks at rooms and situations, edited together to heighten dramatic irony.  I’m really looking forward to more from Cognetti, as well as getting my hot  littles on the director’s cut that came out October first.

LLC truly scared me, and that’s tough to do. Unsettling, spooky, and best of all, not everything is explained.  So, roll that beautiful horror footage.  Would be a nice double feature with The Houses That October Built as a lead-in.  After, if you need, may I suggest the My Little Pony Spooktacular Pony Tales?

Score: 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.

This entry was posted in 31 in 31, In Horror, Movie Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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