THE WRONG HOUSE (2013)
aka HOUSE HUNTING
Written and Directed by Eric Hurt
Available on DVD
Two house-hunting families find themselves having to work together when they find themselves unable to escape a house and its grounds after deciding to have a look around the open house viewing.
THE WRONG HOUSE, also known as HOUSE HUNTING, is a strange horror thriller that will send you round the bend as the two families are unable to escape their surroundings. What starts off as a normal house hunting trip soon turns sour when, on the road to the particular house in question, one of the families almost run over a young girl running out of the woodland. She’s clearly distressed and the two families take her back to the house. Discovering her tongue cut out, they soon realise that maybe the house isn’t the best place to be after all and decide to leave but after driving away from the property and through the woods, they end up outside the house again. They continue to do this until they come to the grim realisation that there is no escape and that something evil is afoot that is refusing them to leave. With the home-owner’s voice echoing through the speakers dotted around the home talking about how the house is perfect for one special family, it’s only a matter of time before madness sets in.
The two families at the heart of this film comprise of two parents and their 20-ish year old son who’s on crutches after breaking his leg and a father, step-mother and daughter who find their little family is far from perfect, particularly the step-mother/daughter relationship after the death of the girl’s mother. Emmy, the teenage girl, turns out to the only character we can really trust as each of the two families start to breakdown and bicker. Mind you, having the same beef stew for dinner, which magically appears in the cupboard each and every day, might be enough to drive anyone mad. Despite the warring fathers and mothers, Emmy’s more concerned about the unwanted attention young man Jason is giving her, being the only male her age in the house. Emmy makes it her duty to figure out why the house is keeping them there and how to escape. Maybe a jigsaw found in the home could be the key to freedom?
THE WRONG HOUSE opens well with some strong ideas but as the film progresses, the plot becomes strained and repetitive much like the groundhog day these families are living in. There’s some pretty neat scenes littered throughout the movie but it doesn’t feel as gripping as it could be. I love these types of movies and Coherence, though different in plot explanation, is a prime example of how to make a tense flick out of pretty much one location. Unfortunately THE WRONG HOUSE didn’t have anything new to share once it had got over the fact the family were stuck at the home which made the film drag through the middle to the latter end of the movie. Think The Shining and you’re pretty much already there.
Whilst the cast performances are hit and miss in some areas, though overall more than adequate, there’s one character we’ve got to talk about: the house. Although you can’t escape it, it’s not an unpleasant house to live in if you don’t mind the occasional creepy vision of murdered childen and the magically reappearing beef stew tin cans in the cupboard. Having its own woods just a stone’s throw away and the way in which it is shot makes this isolated home a subtlely creepy one. I wouldn’t like to stay there for an extended period of time, put it that way. The house seems to feed off the misery of its inhabitants though when cabin fever sets in, it’s not surprising that the residents go loopy.
THE WRONG HOUSE is a nice idea but unfortunately not as expanded upon as I would have hoped.