Hell House: The Book of Samiel
Directed by Jason D. Morris
With music by Chris Heaven
Paul...Michael Anthony Carlisi
This movie starts off simply enough: A psychic woman deals three tarot cards onto a table, pulling the Fool, the Tower, and the Devil--which, when you think about it, can't bode well for anybody. Sounds to me like some moron is going to a haunted house.
Four morons, actually: young (though not as young as they're pretending to be) Steve, Sasha, Paul and Dani. It seems there's an urban legend making its way through their small town about a high school couple who was murdered in their car out on Devil's Road. The murder is somehow connected to a the old Shively House, which, as luck would have it, is being brokered by Paul's real estate agent father. It doesn't take much effort to steal the keys from right beneath his father's drunken eyes, and then it's Hey!-Ho!-Let's Go!
The kids behave here just as you would expect them to, assuming you've seen a horror movie or two in your day. They act obnoxious, they scare each other, they take turns being possessed (or at least pretending to be possessed), they smoke some weed, they masturbate in the bathtub, they have some sex, and they engage in a few acts of innocent lesbianism.
Kids today, I tell you!
Well, lo and behold, the old Shively House is haunted! Who'da thunk!? In fact, it's a practical breeding ground for demonic ghosties and ghoulies who need a sacrifice or three to make their way into our world.
The storyline, such as it was, was more than a little hard to follow. There were a lot of side stories going on that never seemed properly explained or tied together in any sort of cohesive fashion. Most of my time during the movie was spent squinting at the screen, my mouth agape, attempting to make heads or tails out of the latest bumbling plot "intricacy".
The acting was a bit wooden at times, and the characters weren't properly fleshed out, despite the scriptwriters best efforts. The special effects were passable, but nothing spectacular. On the plus side, the score was pretty damn good at times.
A terrible score may very well ruin a good film, but a decent score in no way makes a bad film good, unfortunately. Try as I might to make myself enjoy Hell House--I do my best to support independent horror, dammit!--I just couldn't do it. I don't doubt that this team has a good movie somewhere in them...but this certainly wasn't it.
Maybe in the future?
You better consult the tarot.
Just don't pull the fool card.
The Brain Damage Films release of Hell House: The Book of Samiel doesn't drop until September 8th, 2009. In the meantime, you can visit the official website, learn more about the film at the IMDB, or preorder it today!
"If you don't believe me, you can fuck off sideways!"