JANUARY 19, 2009
Apparently, House played in about 400 theaters this past fall. I knew nothing about it. A "reader" named Lisa who obviously works for Lionsgate recommended I watch it when it hit theaters (she also recommended that obscuro known as Saw V), but I don't recall it ever actually occurring. I can’t say for sure that I would have checked it out (it was in November, when October’s “festivities” left me completely drained of desire to do anything horror-related), but if I had, I’m sure I wouldn’t have minded the excursion. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s surprisingly watchable; occasionally creepy, and always entertaining.
I got a bit nervous when I spied Bill Moseley, Lew Temple, and Leslie Easterbrook in the credits. Nothing against any of them on their own, but as I’ve pointed out before: multiple cast members from Devil’s Rejects is an instant cause for alarm (see, or not: A Dead Calling, Brotherhood of Blood, etc). Luckily, they’re not only all fine in the movie, but Bill and Leslie actually have real roles, not walk on cameos (Temple’s role is minor, though it’s at least important in the development of one character).
Also, I loved how quickly they got to the goddamn point. You know that any movie character who breaks down and takes shelter at a big old isolated house is bound to run into trouble, but they don’t waste any time getting to that point. Within a minute of the start of the obligatory dinner scene (15 minutes into the film), we get Moseley accusing one of them of being a whore, his freak son telling her he wants to fuck her, and some creepy nonsense involving ice cubes. From there on it’s pretty much nonstop, with a lot of underground tunnels and ghostly children and a guy named Tin Man who keeps shooting at them. It’s a pretty gonzo movie actually.
Unfortunately it begins to derail near the end. I must admit I’m not quite sure what the villain was trying to achieve or why he only needed one of them to die. There’s also a goofy epilogue that first presents a Twilight Zone-y twist, then reverses it with some groan-inducing Christian nonsense (this has been labeled a “Christian horror movie”, though it’s not particularly preachy or anything).
Michael Madsen pops up in it. I didn’t recognize him from his feet this time, but he’s playing the same sort of grunting “badass” he’s been playing nonstop for the past 5-6 years. Remember when he would occasionally act? Yeah, that was cool.
The biggest surprise was to hear Anberlin on the soundtrack. They are one of my favorite bands of that genre (poppy-emo-punky stuff), and I’m pretty sure this is their first in-film soundtrack appearance. The main character even sings along! But then she tries to listen to her own CD (she’s a country singer) which I thought was pretty odd. It’s her “greatest hits” CD – wouldn’t she be sick of the songs by now?
The Gate is releasing this one on DVD soon. It’s hardly essential viewing, but I was expecting a level of quality on the lines of the other DTV Lionsgate pickups I’ve watched, so I was happy to discovered that it was at least competently made and acted. Hope some of you give it a chance.
What say you?