DARK HOUSE (2014)
Directed by Victor Salva
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.