Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Chills & Thrills: House of the Witch (2017)

Movie Name/Year: House of the Witch (2017)
Genre: Horror
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production/Distribution: Distilled Media, MarVista Entertainment, Syfy
Director: Alex Merkin
Writer: Neil Elman
Actors: Emily Bader, Darren Mann, Arden Belle, Michelle Randolph, Coy Stewart, Jesse Pepe, Nolan Bateman, Jules Hartley, Paloma Paulin

Blurb from IMDb: A group of high-school kids set out to play a Halloween prank at an abandoned house, but once they enter they become victims of a demonic witch who has set her wrath upon them.

Cat’s Point of View:
We’ve reached October movie season at last! It’s the one month of the year I can satisfy my horror-movie curiosity. With as easily as I startle, partially due to to my ADHD, you’d think I’d shy away from this genre more. Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment.

I digress…

To celebrate the season, House of the Witch kicks off our month of Chills & Thrills. That being said, can we call a mulligan and have our next review be the ‘first’ instead of this one?

I’d like to chalk up my disenchantment with this movie to general fatigue, but I honestly don’t think I would feel much better about it under ideal conditions. There were several issues that plagued this film that I just couldn’t get past to enjoy it more.

When I watched, I hadn’t realized that this was originally aired on the SyFy Channel. I had a suspicion that it was a made-for-TV movie based on the pattern of the scene fades that one would expect to frame a commercial break. The fact that it was originally released for television, or the telltale scene transitions didn’t hurt the movie on their own. Knowing what channel it was originally released on sheds a lot more light on it, however. SyFy original movies tend to be a gamble. Some of them really pay off – this one, unfortunately, wasn’t one of those.

This movie lacked humor and took itself far too seriously. I get it that a lot of the horror genre is supposed to be taken ‘straight-up’ without the interjection of lighter moments. This film, however, could have benefited from some tongue-in-cheek fun.

Sometimes there was just too much going on at once on the screen, and the shaky-cam made it really hard to follow without the desire to reach for some Dramamine. The fact that the film was so dark in places that I felt like I needed to adjust the brightness of my screen also didn’t help. This wasn’t through the whole movie, but it was enough to be annoying.

To give credit where it’s due, though, I have to say that the effects were done really well. The practical effects had good balance of quality with the clearly CGI elements. I just wish more story development to go along with it. There was an element to the ending that would have had more impact if there had been a little more build-up through the story.

All told, I don’t think I’d put this anywhere near the top of any must-watch list.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 25%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2/5
Movie Trailer:

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