Disclaimer: My reviews of media here do not mean that I lay any claim to the media in question. All reviews are entirely subjective. I may talk about how well the movie objectively works in my opinion, but it essentially all comes down to what I think of the movie. My liking a movie is not the same as thinking it's a great movie. If I trash a movie that you love, or love a movie you can’t stand, it’s not because I hate you. Also, all reviews are likely to contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen the movies in question and don’t want to know what happens, then you probably shouldn’t be reading about them here. Finally, a blanket trigger warning for people who don't want to read about common horror movie content such as sexism, racism, violence, etc.: I will likely discuss all of the above when they show up in the films I review, so please tread with caution. Check out this post for more on how my reviews are set up.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Horror Movie Reviews: House of Fears (2007)

Overall: C
Acting: C
Writing: C
Story: C
Technical aspects: C
Effects: C+

Directed by:
Ryan Little

Corri English
Sandra McCoy
Michael J. Pagan
Corey Sevier
Alice Greczyn
Eliot Benjamin

The best way to describe this movie is probably just “average.” It’s a pretty basic curses-killing-teens-type movie. We start off in Africa, where a woman is apparently intending to make a purchase from an archaeological dig. They arrive, her guide discovers that everyone has been killed, she grabs the Mysterious Evil Statue they unearthed, and in the interest of getting out, the guide says she can keep it.
Then back in America, we see a security guard doing a patrol of “The House of Fears”, a haunted house attraction. His dog companion freaks out about something, and they go to investigate. Of course, it’s the Mysterious Evil Statue, which proceeds to cause the dog to attack him.
Meanwhile, six high school kids are at a party dealing with some stock teenage drama. Hailey (Sandra McCoy) is angry that her father has remarried and hates her new stepsister Samantha (Corri English,) and is interested in Carter (Corey Sevier) who only has an on-and-off relationship with her, and… oh man, it is so hard to care much about any of these people and their stock teenage drama… But okay, Carter’s friend Zane (Eliot Benjamin) is into a girl named Candice (Alice Greczyn) and intends to invite her to the haunted house where he works. But she only wants to go with her boyfriend Devon (Michael J. Pagan.) (Can’t keep all the characters straight? That’s okay, most of the audience can’t either!)
Well, the six of them sneak into “House of Fears” where Zane works, and start their way through the “nine fears” that the house is supposedly built around – things like ghosts, death, spiders, the dark, etc. I’ll admit that the house itself looks pretty cool – it’s a haunted house I’d probably enjoy going through in real life.
But of course, because it’s a horror movie, the Mysterious Evil Statue exerts its power to literally bring individual’s worst fears to life, and starts killing off the teens one by one, as they’re forced to go progressively deeper into the house in hopes of escape.

It’s really hard to say anything about the movie except that it is just so painfully average. It isn’t bad, but it’s not especially good either. The acting is nothing special, but it’s all right. The story itself is basic, and it works to the extent that it has to. It’s a silly premise for sure, but doesn't require much more suspension of disbelief than half the horror films out there. The setting is nice enough, and like I said above, I can see this haunted house being fun to go through. But watching other people go through it? Eh, not as exciting, even if we do get to watch them die.

The effects are pretty good; again not spectacular, but not relying solely on CGI. That’s what pushes the effects category into C+ territory for me - I have pretty low tolerance for bad computer generated effects, but I love seeing more “traditional” effects with props and makeup and the like. 
It’s lacking in the sexuality and gore that a lot of teen scream type movies have, which may be either a deterrent or a draw depending on your position.
I can say that this could be a fun movie to watch around Halloween or with a group of friends, but it certainly isn’t particularly stand-out.

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