70s horror, 80s horror, Barbara Crampton, basement, bereavement, boring, burning, death, demon, family, Ghost, ghosts, Haunted House, homage, Horror, horror film, humour, locals, loss, Lucio Fulci, Murder, mystery, outsiders, pastiche, plague, pretentious garbage, retro, Review, sacrifice, scary, secret, supernatural, Ted Geoghegan, terrifying
We are supposed to like this because it’s an homage. Most obviously to Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (right down to the poster -check it out). It’s also supposed to be subtly amusing. And if you don’t understand that it is an homage and if you don’t get the subtle humour – then you are a pleb. Or too young to pine for 1970s grindhouse.
It’s been a while since I felt patronised by my betters. Reviewers simply adore this movie (check out Rotten Tomatoes – 95% fresh). It offers them an opportunity to show how retro and hipster they are. Or alternatively, how old they have become.
I’m not a fan of Lucio Fulci, or grindhouse or even 1980s horror. So clearly this was wasted on me. Sorry. I’m such a pleb.
Yes, I appreciate it’s shot old-style, with wide angles and muted colours. Clearly I have no taste, as I found the insistence on shooting every scene from inside a fucking cupboard extremely irritating. It felt amateurish and gimmicky.
Ted Geoghegan’s feature debut is basically a haunted house movie. The actual plot isn’t easy to piece together and you might hang around until the end of the credits to read all the helpfully revealing newspaper articles they’ve tacked on to explain it. There’s some sort of evil entity under the house (we never see it and it’s never expounded upon). The town’s people sacrifice a family to the darkness every 30 years to avoid pissing it off. Otherwise there will be plagues and crop failures and such. They burnt one family to death over 100 years ago and those poor sods now act as caretakers, offing a new family every 30 years.
The latest couple to move into the house have recently lost their college age son. When the wife can sense a presence in the house, they call in a couple of hippy friends to wave dark crystals around and shed some light on the matter.
Then people start getting murdered by the burning ghosts in the house. A maintenance man. The hippies. Their son and his girlfriend. Then pretty much every one in the town. They don’t kill the couple though. Not sure why. I think it might have something to do with their dead son but I can’t be sure.
It’s hard for me to review this film because it clearly wasn’t aimed at me. I thought the subtle humour was far too subtle as I may have smiled once or twice throughout the whole thing. I suppose it was refreshing that the main cast were all over 45 but some of the acting left a lot to be desired. Although Monte Murkham was fun as the evil town elder. For the most part the characters are flat and don’t have much screen time to establish themselves. Although Barbara Crampton could have done with a lot less screen time, she’s just awful.
Despite what reviews plastered across the promotional material say, this film is not terrifying. There’s some tension at the beginning but the spooks are shown very early in the film and that killed it. They look impressive – but are far too over the top to be terrifying.
As for the supposed humour, apart from being a tongue in cheek look back at 80s horror, I couldn’t really detect much. The exaggerated hostility of the locals, the blood bath at the house, the juxtaposition of the hippies with the starched couple, a man eats a sock…it’s not exactly ground breaking.
And once the tension is gone, the characters have shown themselves to be flat and dull and the humour has failed to materialise – what does that leave? Oh yeah. The homage.
Maybe it’s a generational thing. I just didn’t get it. I don’t feel any affection towards it. I don’t understand why anyone would. Pretentious garbage.