HELL HOUSE LLC [REVIEW]
This may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but I absolutely loathe haunted attractions. As a lifelong horror fanatic, something about them has always made me incredibly nervous. I’m not sure if it’s the large and unpredictable crowds or the idea that it could be anyone underneath that mask and costume, but it’s just not for me. That said, I know I’m not alone here, and you’d think that would make this scenario a “no brainer” for horror filmmakers to approach–and Lord knows they’ve tried. The problem is that none of those films are particularly good, but Hell House LLC is able to deliver where previous attempts have faltered. Could this finally be the Found Footage faux documentary that we’ve been waiting for? We’re closer than ever, that’s for sure.
We follow a group of young entrepreneurs that purchase a hotel with a troubled past in order to turn it into the latest installment of their highly successful HELL HOUSE haunted attractions. Expect standard genre fare in terms of characters. You’ve got the motivated whip-cracker of a founder, the comedian of a camera guy, the love interest, etc. Nothing overly exciting there, but presentation is where Hell House separates itself from the pack. The “footage” that you’re seeing is comprised not only of the main characters’ cameras, but the cameras of customers, first responders, and news crews that were in attendance on the dreadful night where it all went wrong. The semi-frequent change is perspective allows the viewer to remain engaged and become even further entrenched in what really happened at Hell House. In this regard, the film is an unequivocal success.
But as “neat” as the presentation of the film may be, none of that really matters if it doesn’t deliver in the fright department, right? I’m pleased to report that Hell House delivers here as well. While far from a fast-paced adrenaline burner of a film; writer/director Stephen Cognetti spins a skillful web of intrigue and terror–there are moments of genuine unease and fear sprinkled throughout an admittedly fascinating concept of a film. And even if it doesn’t quite stick the landing in the final act, the journey is well worth your time.
So is this the Found Footage faux documentary that we’ve been waiting for? Almost. Hell House LLC takes many of the devices used in traditional haunted attractions across the world and applies them commendably to film. On the other hand, it also uses a lot of the same devices seen in sub-par Found Footage films across the world and applies them about how you’d expect. This isn’t a movie that breaks new ground, but it certainly executes on its core concept far better than anything that precedes it. Because of that, and the handful of creepy moments sprinkled throughout, the Found Footage faithful should absolutely give this one a watch.
Hell House LLC is currently available on VOD platforms. Buy it on iTunes here.