The haunted house has proved a veritable goldmine for horror film directors, with such movies as The House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting and The Shining using the confines of a cursed building to elicit the most extreme reactions from those who dare to stay there.
The Shively house is a local legend, with previous occupants having murdered one another and rumours of demonic possession making the building a source of fascination and terror for young people in the town. Paul and his girlfriend Dani, together with their friends Steve and Sasha decide to see if the rumours are true and Paul steals the house key from his realtor father. Once inside they padlock the door shut and hang the key from a wind chime in the hallway to ensure that no one can get in or out.
It's not long before they start seeing things that can't possibly be explained as they haven't reckoned on the groundskeeper, Adam, and local psychic Theadora, who seem to have some connection with the demons inside and the four friends find themselves struggling to tell what is real.
This is one of the better releases from Brain Damage Films as Hell House is a solidly made film with a decent script, effective make-up effects and atmosphere. There is also a challenging narrative that is better than I expected and keeps you involved until the final credits roll. Oh, and Jessica Marie (Sasha) provides the almost compulsory nudity.
Hell House could have easily been a 'teens go where they shouldn't and get what they deserve' film but is better than that with involving characters and a shifting timeline that stops it becoming dull.
Picture and Sound
The letterboxed picture is pretty clear, even in the darker scenes (of which there are many) and the gore effects are pretty convincing though the blood is perhaps a little too red. The shocks are effectively delivered and, even with a mono soundtrack, the more complicated scenes don't lose clarity.
Hell House is a well constructed and enjoyable film with fine performances from the four main cast members and competent direction from Jason D. Morris. At £2.99 from Brain Damage Films, it's worth a punt.
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