Let’s go back to high school.

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House of the Witch is another horror film that no one ever heard of and was dropped unceremoniously on Netflix. I didn’t realize until it was too late that this is a made for TV movie.

I’m not necessarily opposed to made for TV films, but I have yet to see one that is worth the time. Watching the old version of It reminded me that budgets do matter. Even in horror, which should be somewhat insulated from the need for spectacular CGI, still needs enough of a budget to make the sets work.

Before we even get into the plot, let’s talk about the dialogue. It sucks. It sucks more than six hundred vacuums in a hurricane. Was that image kind of crappy? Still pry smarter than anything in this movie. Anyway, the characters don’t talk like actual human beings. We instead have call and response style speaking that is done so stiffly it makes you sometimes wonder if the people are in the same room. With the excessive cuts between each speaker I wouldn’t be surprised if there were cue cards for a lot of the actors. Perhaps most obnoxious is the lip movement doesn’t match the dialogue, nor does the volume given the articulation. This isn’t always a problem, but when it is it is distracting as hell.

We follow a group of teenagers (some seem to be in college others in high school??) who are going to an old abandoned house for some Halloween nonsense. However, this old abandoned house is the home of a giant shit monster that causes horrid constipation. Oops, sorry, that was my interpretation out of boredom. It is actually home to a witch and now our objectively unlikable characters must try to get out alive.

This is the type of movie that makes people see the horror genre as a pile of crap. We have a stunning lack of scares, but they decided to make up for that with having the kids announce how creeped out they are, which makes no sense. If you’re going to have a haunted house film (or haunted location) that location better damn well live up to its reputation. Here we have an abandoned house that still has power, doesn’t seem dirty, and lacks any sort of creepy vibe. The house we moved into had been vacant for a month and seemed to have more dust than this supposedly abandoned for decades home.

The whole premise for our pack of fools to be in this house is a prank. Yet, when they arrive, they just kind of dick around for a bit without any prank occurring. The characters are simply awful, and when people are this crappy to one another (as they are when someone thinks they saw something spooky) it makes me wonder why they would associate with one another at all.

The whole “what if” horror tropes are just tired. What if a bunch of unlikable jerks got stuck in a haunted house? That is the depth of the plot. The whole plot is only a service to certain horror set-pieces that are mostly ineffectual. Perhaps most annoying is how long the movie feels. Every single 90 minutes is a pain to live through.

With crap like this we shouldn’t be surprised Netflix is struggling. Avoid this one at all costs.

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