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Directed by Victor Salva

Nick has always wondered who his father is, especially with his supernatural ability to see visions of people’s deaths by touching them. When his mother dies under strange circumstances at the mental aslyum, Nick inherits deeds to a mystery house, a house that he has drawn all his life since being a kid despite never realising it existed. With the local townfolk adament that the house was washed away during a flood a good 20 years previously, Nick is suprised to find the house almost in tact but in a different location. Hoping to find answers about his family, particularly his father, Nick, his pregnant girlfriend Eve and best friend Ryan are in for more than they bargained for when they start nosying around the inherited homestead.

Directed by Jeepers Creepers’ Victor Salva, DARK HOUSE is a sub-average horror that combines mystery and slasher elements with a sprinkling of Tobin Bell from the SAW franchise.

Opening with a young man, who’s turned 23 years of age, visiting his mother at a mental institute, it is firmly established that the young man’s father is probably not of this world given that his son can see the future… well, future deaths, that is. The subsequent scenes do a great job of creating tension over a mysterious house for a man who’s whole life seems to be one big mystery. The plot is paced quite well, intriguing the viewer, until a set of axe-wielding, ape-walking bad guys appear on the scene, led by Tobin Bell’s character, Seth. From then on, the story struggles with pacing and weak plot threads, with good ideas mixed in with daft ones which ultimately leaves the viewer with a mediocre horror.

At times, DARK HOUSE has a flash of Stephen King about it, but as we enter the second third of the film, the movie ventures into run-of-the-mill slasher-esque territory with laughable villains that destroy and transform the film’s vibe from something unique to something hopelessly familiar and cookie-cutter.

The leading trio of characters, Nick (Luke Kleintank), Eve (Alex McKenna) and Ryan (Anthony Rey), have an endearing chemistry that really sells their friendship and relationship, but performances from a few of the other cast members aren’t as strong with underdeveloped characters to boot. This mash mash of performances reflects the film’s plot and substance, leaving an unsatisfactory aftertaste to the viewing. In some cases, other characters only come to life once their plot thread is revealed which often ruins the believability of those characters and harms the tension and pace of the movie.

Though there’s a flash of interesting ideas in the movie, set in a creepy woodland surrounding, DARK HOUSE results in a rather ordinary horror due to a weak script and finale, which is a shame given the potential. Lacking true scares and even gore, it’s hard to see why this film was given a certificate 18. Those looking for something terrifying should look elsewhere.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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About Bat 4345 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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