Another fake documentary.

a-haunting-on-dice-road

I don’t mind the genre of fake documentaries too much, but the lack of an IMDB page makes reviewing them a bit of a pain in the ass. There are other limitations on the genre—they inherently would rather tell than show. Sometimes this can be done to great effect, but more often than not it is a cheap way to cut budgetary corners.

This film seems to be part of a series where a similar production model is followed. We have series of interviews and voiceover to give us the history of a haunted location. The problem with this sort of set-up is that the documentary portions of the film are almost always a higher visual/audio quality than the actual investigation. I can appreciate that this is probably accurate to the real world, but it sets up an incredibly uneven experience. Films like District 9 took care to make sure both the documentary portions and narrative portions contain the same level of quality. This one… well, not so much.

A plus of this film is that it is the closest to looking like an actual documentary that I have seen (complete with dramatic reenactments). We get a bit of history and witness reactions to a haunted home on Dice Road. These moments are interspersed with a Ghost Hunters-esque type show with a host discussing their investigation.

A major problem with this movie is how heavy-handed almost all of the moments are in the early portion of the movie. Our host gives his most serious and sinister tone when explaining that the homeowner told them that the faucet would turn on by itself. Holy cow everybody, a faucet turning on by itself… This ghost is a water-wasting son of a bitch. I am not sure we can handle this sort of terror. I don’t know if American audiences are prepared for such frights. One the story starts rolling it becomes more interesting. They should have toned back these moments a bit.

The pacing is good. It truly feels like a real investigative story that you might see late at night on one of the travel channels. While the film isn’t particularly impressive, it isn’t off putting, either. The film almost begs to be used for something in the background. It is a simple and decently entertaining movie—if you enjoy the mystery of the haunting. Where the film falters heavily is that it simply isn’t scary. It doesn’t do much more than the plethora of other horror investigation shows that have become popular in recent years, though what it does do it does better. In a lot of ways this film sets the benchmark for what haunting shows should be. I have to say again that the film paces itself almost perfectly. It becomes increasingly fun and interesting as it goes.

The appeal for this one is a bit limited. I can appreciate many being a little tired of this subgenre, but this one truly does more right than wrong.

The film is a bit of fun. It won’t scare you, but it won’t bore you either. I appreciate the craft, and if this takes over found footage I won’t complain. Despite a sometimes overbearing host, we are usually treated to a good story. Right now this one is free on Prime, so give it a shot. 6.5/10

6 thoughts on “A Haunting on Dice Road: The Hell House (2016) Film Review

  1. I think your wrong, sorry to be so blunt Just an opinion though. I’m only saying this due to friends and family in the area all back the film up. Not sure but it’s well worth the watch

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    1. Hey, no worries on disagreements! Do you think I am wrong in that this is a real documentary? Or that the story surrounding this is real?
      This film series has proven to be better-than-average. (For me a 6/10 means average). I watched a few, and this one didn’t grab me as much as the others, but none of them are bad.

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    1. These are weird movies. I’ve had others say the team is on the up and up, but I’m a bit of a skeptic. I think we could look at in a positive way of saying that these narratives do at least show the real story, or at least expose people to it.

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