This story is about a true-crime writer moves into the house were a family was hanged in the backyard. It’s a creepy opening visual to the film, and you can guess right where the story is going with this. You’ll get elements of a haunted house, with a dash of serial killer sprinkled in.
Ethan Hawke is a better actor than the material, and we see a few other interesting actors – Vincent D’Onofrio and Fred Dalton Thompson – pop up in fun scenes.
When Hawke discovered film footage of a series of murders…one wonders why he doesn’t call those cops that were so eager for autographs when he moved in.
What bothers me is that the film footage is so spooky and interesting and we go down all these paths of wondering why it’s there. So many films have recently done that trick where the main character is really the killer. You also wonder if somebody is taunting him. Perhaps it’s the local sheriff (Thompson), who wants him out of town. Maybe the killer has his eye on Hawke.
In the second act, when we see how the super natural elements come in, it makes me lose a bit of interest. At that point, anything can happen. Film footage can catch fire, weird noises or animals can appear in the house, and you are given no choice but to go with it. That’s why the horror genre isn’t for me. Either make a movie that scares me non-stop, or make an interesting story with a few scares.
The scary super natural character does look creepy, like something off a heavy metal album cover. It would’ve just been a lot more interesting to see less of him. Oh, and to not have him being named Mr. Boogie. That sounds like the DJ that used to work at the Aquarius Roller Rink on Miramar Road in the late ‘70s.
Horror films aren’t supposed to be picked apart like that. So, I’ll mention the few things I liked.
The titles of the various films were clever (family BBQ, Hanging out, etc.). The score, with this creepy didgerido, was bizarre and eerie.
And seeing elements that reminded me of Blowup and The Shining was fun.
If you like horror movies, you’ll have a great time with this. If you don’t, avoid it. And for characters in horror movies…we warned you in the ‘70s not to try and run from the monsters in high heels or walk into a dark room where you just heard a strange noise. Now it’s time to remind them that they shouldn’t move into a house were something horrible happened.
This gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.