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Samantha Ballard is an up and coming horror novelist that is looking for inspiration to write her next novel. Instead of just making things up and hoping that it will scare her readers, she wants to be inspired and have solid backing to the words she pens on the pages. Samantha’s real estate agent, who is a rather old woman, has just the place for her to find her horrifying motivation and it’s an old house that has a sordid history. This would also be the last time anyone would see Samantha and her agent for months.
Almost a year later, friends and family of both Samantha and her agent make their way to her house in order to find out why they haven’t heard anything from them in so long. It just so happens that Samantha’s husband shows up with his new girlfriend to get the divorce papers finalized at the exact same time. A little bit of discussion goes on, and the group figures out that they must find their friends because something isn’t right. Upon breaking into the old house, Samantha is found in a very strange state and something is keeping her and now them from leaving. Before they can even attempt to leave, the group must face their deepest fears and hope that doesn’t do them in.
Yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. A spooky house is involved with something evil inside of it that keeps a group of people from leaving and starts killing them off one by one. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it a hundred more times. There is really nothing original about this film whatsoever so don’t go in expecting a unique and new direction. I love films that are about haunted houses because it gives a film a better feel then just having some psychopath killer on the victims’ tails. But most of the time there is some person or little kid or what have you condemned in the haunted house making it evil. Why can’t the damn house just be evil on its own huh?
While Fear House isn’t a horrible film, it isn’t all that good either. There are a few moments here and there that don’t necessarily frighten, but come close. And I will give the filmmakers credit for a rather cool ending that surprised me a good bit. The rest of it is full of plot holes and missing so much in terms of continuity that it goes from stupid to actually confusing. If you’re already going to have a film that is less than ninety minutes, then take the extra seven or ten and fill in those plot holes so your already bad flick doesn’t end up being retarded as well.
The film is shown in 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and it really doesn’t look very good at any point throughout the film. Most of it takes place in darker settings making some scenes difficult to see, and those that can be seen in better light usually have a grainy feel to them.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and while all the dialogue could be heard just fine; it never appeared that they took full advantage of the surround sound with the musical score or sound effects.
Outtakes – About three minutes of generic mess-ups that really aren’t funny.
Actor Rehearsal – A little over six minutes of the group going over their lines and such in regular clothes and in someone’s house. Nothing exciting and it’s actually quite annoying with the stupid humming noise constantly being heard.
Audio Commentary – Director Michael R. Morris sits alongside actors Aleece Jones and Matthew Stiller for this commentary track. They talk constantly throughout the film and seem very happy about the work they’ve done. There are moments when the commentary is rather generic and they just talk about what is happening on screen while other times you’ll hear them discuss the actual shooting of the film and how enjoyable it was.
Oddly enough this is not in the same category as the other crappy horror films I’ve been “blessed” with in the past year or so of reviewing DVDs. Fear House has some merit and could have been much better, but wasn’t awful and might actually get another viewing from me in a few years. The special features aren’t much of anything except for the commentary track which is rather enjoyable, but the rest is just blah. Perhaps rent this as an alternate one night when you’re looking for something to watch and your top choices numbers one through fifty aren’t there. It may bring you a few laughs and an ending that is quite decent. If you don’t do that, then I’ll come to your house and put your head in a bucket of water. Not really, I could care less.
Lifesize Entertainment presents Fear House. Directed by: Michael R. Morris. Starring: Aleece Jones, Matthew Stiller, Olivia Price, Matthew Montgomery, Meredith Barnett. Written by: Michael R. Morris. Running time: 86 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: April 1, 2008. Available at Amazon.com