“See you guys at six.” [OR WILL HE]
Story: The “infamous house on Lockwood Lane” is a place where serial killer Lester Morgan – aka The Clown Killer – performed his gruesome deeds. But Morgan claims voices told him to kill…just another murderer looking for a psych verdict? Well, Our Gang over at The Otherside decide to look into that, by locking themselves into the house overnight. After a little light B&E, Dylan, Kai, and Harper settle in, with Kel directing them from their van/headquarters. Hey, anyone see that clown-y shadow in the mirror over there? No? Oh, I’m sure that’s nothing. Let’s start the live stream – grab that Ouija board and let’s do this!
Subgenre: WHY ARE YOU GOING IN THERE Supernatural House Horror
Release Date: 2022
FX: Excellent blood FX and use of lighting/reflections
Some Clichés/Tropes: House With A Past, Oops Possessed Maybe, Unbelievers Faking Fakery, Faulty Tech, Social Media Shenanigans
Where I Watched: Screener (but available through Amazon Prime, and free to watch on Tubi)
Spooky or Nah?: When I think about all the money big studios shell out for mediocre garbage (looking at you, Morbius, you broke my heart)? Low-to-no budget films can really grab hold of my heart. And when that film actually delivers the goods? Well hello, lovely. House harks back to Gonjiam Haunted Asylum and Hell House LLC, delivering spooky goodness. When some folks say the found footage genre is dead, along comes a film that proves the genre still has some oomph. House has that oomph.
The film starts with a flashback/prequel, showing Morgan’s last moments on earth. Then we cut to Our Gang, getting ready for a night’s work. As per the usual “is that house really haunted” story, Our Gang have pre-planned jump scares and scripted dialogue at the ready, but the real deal starts up pretty darn fast. I’ve gotta say that for such a low budget film – what up Kickstarter – the cinematography and FX are a heck of a lot better than this film has any right to be. The film looks crisp and clean, letting the scares come at you in gloriously sharp HD. When bad things go down, the blood looks realistic, with medium shots showing you almost more than you’d like. Nah, this isn’t in-your-face Giallo ala Fulci or Bava, but when House decides to drip, it’s eerily effective.
So yeah, one thing. The acting is decent here, but there are a few moments of violent action that don’t really come across well. There are two climactic moments when a character supposedly makes contact with another character, but I noticed the lack of, well, actual contact. That pulled me out of the film a bit, but as it only happens twice, I’ll give House a pass. Perhaps those moments struck me thanks to how well the overall film does with slowly increasing the dread and suspense, be it through eerie reflections, lights that flicker on and off (think Lights Out), and art direction that’s sparse yet compellingly creepy. What’s under those sheets? Why does this abandoned, boarded-up house feel like everyone just left suddenly? And what is up with those mannequins? Of course, the fact that Morgan wore a clown mask when he killed his victims didn’t exactly lessen the sinister overtones to the story. Ugh, clowns. Amirite?
If you’re looking for a chiller that’ll show you what low budgets can do when they’re done right? Look no further. Queue this one up for October shenanigans, or whenever you’re in the mood for a modern-day “dark and stormy night” story. With clowns. Pleasant dreams.