The other day, I was contemplating what movies I should go see so I could write about them on this here blog. There were some great ones to be sure, but the listings had a movie called House on it. I had never heard of it, so I did some digging and read what it was all about. The film is adapted from a book by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker, who are Christian authors and write darkly themed novels around the Christian faith. The story follows two couples who end up in a house in the woods and end up playing a game with a killer called the Tin Man. His rules are this:
1) God came into my house and I killed him.
2) I will kill anyone who comes to my house like I killed God.
3) Bring me one dead body and I'll let rule #2 slide.
An R-rated Christian horror movie about a satanic killer who claims to have murdered God? I was intrigued and as I sat there, I realized I had to see this movie, if nothing else than to see how they wrapped a Christian message into the bloodletting. However, the message was weak, if not nonexistent. If anything, the Christian message is overshadowed by the satanic imagery. There are tons of references to Satanism, but little to no mention of Christianity. The films says that "light destroys darkness" and that's about as far as it delves into a blatant promotion of Christianity. I have a sneaking suspicion that the film wanted to make the Christian message as subtle as possible so they could appeal to a wider audience. If you look hard enough, you'll see that the characters are being tempted throughout the whole movie and, despite the rules saying that if they kill somebody they'll live, it's the opposite. The point of the film is to put temptation in their faces and see if they give in. If they don't, they'll be saved. Still, you have to dig pretty deep to find this hidden message.
Basically, Christians are going to walk out of this wondering why it was considered a Christian themed movie and non-Christians certainly aren't going to be converted. That's a big problem considering what it was trying to accomplish. However, this whole crisis could have been averted if it were actually a good movie. Well, it's not. Surprise!
There are a few things I'm sick of when it comes to the construction of a horror movie. First, I'm tired of seeing a twist ending. Although some work, most do not and ruin anything the film had going for it. Second, I hate characters that are so stupid they can't see the evil right in front of them. And lastly, I hate when a horror movie relies on cheap jump mechanics to scare the audience. God forbid a film actually has to try to create suspense through the use of an effective ambiance. Unsurprisingly, House falls into all of those traps.
The movie isn't scary in the slightest and the twist is absolutely ridiculous and doesn't seem to make much sense. It was like the writers of the story came up with the twist first and tried to work the story around it. It didn't work. And where do I begin with these characters? Usually, old house in the woods+people acting psycho=get the hell out of there, but not for these numbskulls. House felt like it had read the book on horror film clichés and used every single tactic.
As to be expected, the dialogue was laughable and the acting was uniformly bad, excluding Bill Moseley who is the man in everything he does, although he's severely underused here. I mean, what was this movie trying to do? It's not interesting, scary, or smart. It doesn't bring forth a Christian message from its supposed Christian source and actually seems to play up more aspects of Satanism. House is in limited release right now, but let's hope it quickly reaches DVD and rots away into oblivion.
House receives 1/5