When I first heard about this movie I had my apprehensions. I worried that adding a major theme of heavy metal to a haunted house flick would be nothing more than a gimmick. To no surprise, I was pretty much correct.
We follow struggling artist Jesse (Ethan Embry) who buys a new home with his wife and daughter. They are told there were two deaths in the home, but buy it anyway. This is an odd trope of horror films. Most houses have had a death in them at some point. Sure, sure, this does give ample reasoning for hauntings, but I haven’t actually met anyone who was deterred by a purchase due to a death.
The big change in this movie is a large emphasis on music. Jesse is a major metalhead, and incorporates his love of music into every aspect of his life. It seems that recently movies are experimenting with sound tracks a lot more than before. My usual distaste in overbearing soundtracks shouldn’t be a surprise. This one thing doesn’t really rise the movie above the normal annoying horror tropes. Jesse is above painting commission work because the type of art that sells makes him “want to puke.” Fine. Keeping your scruples and artistic integrity, but don’t buy a massive house—even at a discount.
Jesse finds himself haunted by the same dark forces that infected the previous owners. He uses his new found obsession to begin to create interesting and potentially disturbing art. All the while, the sole survivor of the former tenants begins stalking the family. We get a sort of mystery and suspense thread mixed into the story.
The film tries to subvert horror tropes, but they are all still there. This sort of self-aware/patting itself on the back horror film is similar in some ways to Cabin in the Woods. No matter how much trickery and supposed smarts are in the film, it is still a familiar story.
I recognize I have been negative on the film thus far, but it isn’t a terrible movie. It is nice to see a family that cares about each other, and the relationship between Jesse and his daughter is quite nice. The acting, directing, and so forth are all good. Something about it just feels a little too familiar and a little too boring. 5/10