A remote and mysterious area: check. A beautiful but haunted house: check. A new and young family buying it: check.
If you didn’t know this review would be about House on Elm Lake, you might have thought it was about any other horror movie in the history of film.
The latest James Klass (Mother Krampus a.k.a. 12 Deaths Of Christmas) film feels incredibly predictable, which isn’t a good thing all the time, but will it turn out to be a decent movie to watch?
House on Elm Lake follows Eric, Andrew Hollingworth (Love In Focus (Short)), his wife Hayley, Becky Fletcher (Fox Trap, 12 Deaths Of Christmas) and their daughter Penny, Faye Goodwin (12 Deaths Of Christmas, Unhinged).
Just recently getting back together, they decide to buy a gorgeous and incredibly cheap house, next to Elm lake. However, you can see this coming miles away, the house might not be all what it seems.
It all starts kind of innocent: Penny talking to her imaginary friend (which is, according to Eric and Hayley, typical for a girl her age), television screens turning on automatically (showing, you can already guess it, horror videos) and Eric seeing shadows walking around the house (which at first seems to be the ones from his wife and daughter).
But then things change drastically: instead of seeing shadows, Eric starts hearing voices in his head that grow louder, Penny becomes more convinced that her imaginary friend is real and Hayley just goes mad from all of this.
As if this isn’t already bad enough, they also find out that the house has a dark and mysterious history. What will the family do? Move out of the house but give up their dream place or stay in it and see their lives become a nightmare? We don’t doubt that you already know the answer to that question.
As you may have noticed, the biggest problem with House on Elm Lake is the element of predictability.
Hearing voices a.k.a being possessed by the devil, starting to crave for bloodlust or scary dolls turning up from the past.
We have seen it all even before we put the movie on. With that lack of imagination, it felt like we were watching The Amityville Horror. If House on Elm Lake was a tribute to that, then it was an incredibly good one but if not, then it sadly just felt like a rip-off.
Most of the time, in a B-movie like this, we don’t see the biggest names on the top of the bill and House on Elm Lake is no different.
However, that being said, it doesn’t detract too much as the cast give it their best shot to impress.
Hollingworth knows how to portray a man who wants to protect his family from the evil in the house, but who sadly is the evil of the house because the voices in his head are driving him mad.
Despite the fact we don’t know why Hayley’s character didn’t leave Eric (even after him cheating on her in the past and becoming evil), we really get the emotions she is going trough thanks to Fletcher’s performance. Especially when Hayley’s life is being turned completely upside down during the most surprising plot twist of the movie.
We feel so bad for Penny because of her parents not believing the story of her and her friend and she being on a rollercoaster of all those emotions at that young age. This is all because of Goodwin captivating us with her performance.
If there’s one thing that’s crucial when it comes to a horror movie, it’s the suspense. Sadly that wasn’t present in House on Elm Lake because of the very distorted sound.
At some moments, the action was so loud that you had to turn the volume down which then made some of the conversations unnoticeable.
However, thanks to the make up and cinematography, the story still came to life. I really want to applaud the make up team, I don’t know how much time they spent with their hands in buckets of fake blood, how long it took to make the most gruesome wounds and how many times they had to redo them for the different scenes, not to mention the cleaning up after. They did a wonderful job, that’s for sure.
The effects weren’t too much which made sure that it wasn’t completely over the top but still, they were their to be able to create some of the scary moments.
Also, a big thumps up to the cinematography team. All the scenes were beautiful created and visually it looked fine.
So what did I think? Yes, House on Elm Lake felt very much like a deja-vu (while it was the first time I’d watched the movie) and there was no imagination or new ideas whatsoever. However, we were still be able to enjoy the movie, which is the purpose of a film like this.