GIRL HOUSE: The Hughes Verdict

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Directed by Jon Knautz and Trevor Matthews

What is it all about?

When a beautiful young college student needs  money for tuition,  she takes a job in a house that streams content to an X-rated website. When a deranged fan named “Loverboy” gets obsessed by her, he hacks in to determine the house’s location, and she soon finds herself fighting for her life!

The Hughes Verdict!

It very hard these days to come up with a fresh Slasher tale.  Every event day has seen a masked killer ruin the festival, from Valentine day’s to April Fool’s, we have seen tales from of a woman only taking a shower and meeting her demise, to even teenagers afraid to fall asleep in case a razor sharp finger bogeyman in a striped jumper attacks and mutilates them.

Its not since 1996 when Ghostface entered the market that the Slash genre saw something original and with that franchise now hitting the small screen with a Scream TV Show and that itself not getting a very lukewarm response from fans, you can safely say that the killing’s in Woodsboro are even stale to die hard fans.

There is an argument, especially from me, that 2006 saw the last best slasher film and that was of course the breathtaking Behind The Mask, but even that is left as an undiscovered piece of beauty.  It goes to show why Hollywood in particular are more interesting in bringing back the old guys than making new legends.  Its more of a safer bet to bring back Michael Myers for the umpteenth time as there is a fan base for the guy, than risk pumping money out on a new franchise that would probably sink at the box office.  I mean there is only so many Urban Legends the slash fans can take.

Its Halloween once more that has its fingerprints all over Girl House, a slasher flick all set to hit the DVD market in July that on paper has a concept that sounds sleazy as it comes.   What attached me to the film is the name Jon Knautz, a HorrorCultFilms favourite thanks to films like The Shrine and Jack Brooks Monster Slayer.  The production is as crazy as the film with Knautz starting off directing before departing and giving the film to Trevor Matthews, the guy who played Jack Brooks and fair play to Matthews, for his first time, he has created a stunning debut, full of atmosphere and dread.  This guy will go far I tell you.

Girl House starts with the killing of Catwoman.  Ok that may be a slight spoiler but anyone who has watched just one slasher film will see it coming and I am not talking about Michelle Pfeiffer either, but of the young Camren Bicondova from Gotham, who teases a young boy into a game of “You show me mine and I show you yours” before humiliating the poor lad and then finding herself wishing she hadn’t.

That boy in particular grows up to be “Loverboy” ( played excellently by rapper Slaine) an IT guy who spends his time looking at half naked women on the website Girl House, a mansion similar to that of the Big Brother house.  A bunch of girls staying where cameras are in every room, teasing and doing sexual things, all for money of course.  Its when innocent and sweet looking Kylie arrives (Ali Cobrin) as the new recruit that “Loverboy” begins to show his murderous tendencies once more.  Kylie who is only there to earn some money to pay her college bills, strikes up a conversation with the nut job and he sends her his photo, which ends up on the notice board on a wall with a cruel jibe written in pen.  This sends “Loverboy” in a frenzy, donning a creepy wig and mask, he hacks into the private feed, finds out where this mystery mansion is and decides its payback, in true slasher style.

You would think that a film set around the world of web cam porn would be gratuitous but its not.  Yes the ladies are beautiful and for some of the running time, flesh is seen, but its not overly done and its rare in a slasher that I found each character likeable.  What gives Girl House a much needed boast is that Matthews shows great restrain in not showing any kills until nearly over the hour mark, borrowing the trick Carpenter did in the first visit to Haddonfield all those years ago.

We get to know these girls and they don’t sell out to typical stereotypes we often seen.   Even the killer himself threatens to give us some sympathy with his plight, the teasing at the beginning is terrible for those who have been mocked themselves, to a scene in an office when a rather beautiful but quite a bitch of a woman mocks the guy, which resulted in myself wanting him to kill the cow there and then.

Of course all signs of sympathy are soon long gone when he enters the house and the killings begin and then you just want these poor girls to survive.  The last half hour of the film is brilliantly staged, with the live feed of the show turning into one long snuff movie, with all its viewers watching the events unfold and the police trying their best to find the place in question.

Slash films live and die by their set-pieces and while there is nothing of new here that had me going “Whoa!”, the story itself and the tension that it builds is more than enough to carry the film through.  Slaine is built like a Jason Voorhees bogeyman and is an excellent addition to the stable, while Corbin does not quite play the last “virgin” girl, with her Kylie showing remarkable strength to fight back against all the odds.

There are set-pieces that mirror moments from Halloween and Friday 13th, with “Loverboy” lurking in the shadows and a swimming pool death that is straight out of Camp Crystal Lake, but that is no fault of Matthews or the writing skills of Nick Gordon, its just hard to find fresh material in a genre that has been done to death.  There are cliché scenes that will make you frown, but then there are hints of “respecting the audience” with the girls doing things you want them to do if you was in that situation.

Matthews said Girl House was influenced by Halloween, but while obviously it does not hold a candle to the 1978 Granddaddy of them all, it is much superior to Halloween Resurrection which had the same structural design, and while it won’t win many awards, for this slasher fan, Girl House is one of the best attempts at a sleeping genre for a few years, with the added bonus of no found footage in sight…..

Girl House is out to rent and buy on July 20th 2015

Rating: ★★★½☆


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About Ross Hughes 547 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

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