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Movie Review: House (2008)

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This movie is not to be confused with the 1986 horror film of the same name. Despite the similarities that exist between the earlier film and this one and the fact that the stories for both were written by someone named Dekker (Fred and Ted, respectively), this movie is not a remake. In many ways this film strikes me as a supernatural take on the core ideas behind the Saw franchise. However, despite several creepy moments, the end result is a muddled mess. Nothing new is offered to the horror world and in end, House is a rather forgettable effort.

housesmall_323011As the movie begins we meet Jack (Reynaldo Rosales) and Stephanie, a troubled couple arguing about the route Jack has taken. The two are on their way to marriage counseling and Jack has taken a short cut that led them away from the highway. Stephanie is suitably upset about the situation, which is not helped by Jack’s reckless driving. This leads directly into a near accident as they come around a bend, nearly flattening a police officer (Michael Madsen) who has stopped to help a couple with their pickup that has run off the road.

After a brief stop they are back on their way, but their troubles are far from over. After hitting some debris in the road, their car is disabled sending them in search of a phone to call for a tow truck (in the pouring rain, no less). Sounds pretty cliched so far, does it not? Just wait, it gets better.

housesmall_323018After walking for awhile, the couple comes across the Wayside Inn. They go inside where they meet up with another similarly stranded couple. As they try to find the proprietor of the inn they meet Betty, Stewart, and their son Pete. They are one supremely creepy family and the best thing about the film. Betty and Stewart are played by Leslie Easterbrook and Bill Moseley who famously portrayed Mother Firefly and Otis in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects. They, along with Lew Temple as Pete, are nothing if not suitably creepy and menacing, but with a flair for hospitality.

Things take a turn for the worst when someone Betty calls the Tin Man shows up. He drops a can down the chimney that lays out the rules. These rules amount to “kill one of your own or I will kill all of you.”

At this point it would appear that the movie is taking a turn towards the survival horror or slasher sub-genres, but the presence of a darker evil appears in the form of black smoke (a Lost reference? Nah…) bringing that supernatural feel.

housesmall_323017This is where the film begins to turn inward while continuing to have a little outward flash. The story concerns redemption as it forces each person trapped in this house to confront something from their past. Of course, they have to do this while avoiding the Tin Man, the creepy family, and each other.

You know, I like the ideas here. I just wish that it was presented in a fashion that at least seemed a bit fresher. The Saw films are based on Jigsaw’s desire to give his victims a deeper respect for life; in House those inside are forced to confront their pasts in an effort of getting beyond that in the hopes of moving on with their lives.

Unfortunately, House fails to really tie its tale together in a cohesive manner. It is a film that begs the audience to put the pieces together but does not give enough of the pieces to finish the puzzle. When the end finally arrives, the light goes on and I got what they were doing but was left shaking my head and wondering how much greater the impact could have been had the story made a little more sense. Too much is left on the audience to figure out how everything goes with everything else.

Bottomline. Easterbrook and Moseley are excellent in their roles, the same cannot be said for most everyone else. It is fine if you are looking for a movie with a few shocks but it is one that will be quickly forgotten and not likely to inspire sequels as the earlier House did.

Mildly Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • moviechickt

    I totally agree with your review. I too was left with a feeling of ” this couldve been soo much better” and that there were not enough ‘bridges’ in the movie. Oh well…I guess these ‘quick thrill’ types of movies are a very lucrative business right now.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    For a moment there I thought somebody had made a movie of the TV show without telling anybody. Doh!

  • stacie

    i havent seen the movie just yet. i really want to but i know that movies like these tend to be really cheezy( like the movie Three by dekker). anyways i read the book though and it was awesome. i didnt want to put it down.

  • becca

    awe thats sucks that the movie issint as good as the book! when i read it, and hurd there was going to be a movie i got soo excited! but to keep hearing it wasint that good kind of make me wonder if i want to watch it now…i guess ill just havet to imagine how the movie would be..lol
    oh well

  • Jocelyn

    I want to know when is that movie going to come out? I haven’t seen it anywhere in theaters, do you think its going to be in any Christian supply store?

  • Kelsi

    I have read this book about 2 times. The movie is exactly how I pictured it in my mind when i read the book. I am so excited to see the movie!

  • mj

    Maybe if you read the book first, then u would understand the movie more. The goal is not to scare.

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    If you have to read the book to understand it, it is a failure as an adaptation.

  • as

    I have read book, book is amzing. Going to watch the film, hope it`s good as the book

  • ATcY JAc

    Well I enjoye dthis movie. I rarely watch horror movies and the ending certainly gave me a big surprise!

    I do admit the first half wasnt that good but I thought the 2nd half was GREAT! I guess thats just me huh?

    Or maybe its because I dont watch horro movies that ofthen?

  • confused

    Can someone please explain the. ending to me?

  • mark

    it’s just like Dead People 2

  • Pat

    The movie just utterly confused me. The poster said it was based on a true story and compared itself to Amityville Horror. Guess what? I haven’t met a man who was 100% evil so that contradicts the first claim and Amityville has a plot. So there.

    My major complaint is that it is neither a psycho serial killer antagonist nor a supernatural antagonist. It’s kind of both but neither is executed well enough to sustain the plot.

    And.. nothing is explained, not even in an obvious they’re-just-inserting-this-scene-to-explain-what-just-happened scenario.

    It just makes me frustrated.

  • Mike

    I really was looking forward to this movie, yes and if anyone is lookin to get this movie its at Koorong (a christian store). I was gonna watch this movie with my cuz now i aint sure if its to cliched, wat do u guys think, give me some answers and fast!! and wow there is a book about it, i hope the book is worth reading