New Horror Releases: House Of Demons (2018) - Reviewed

Four long-time friends reunite after a long hiatus to spend some quality time together in a countryside house which used to belong to a Manson-Family family like cult. Many violent rituals took place in this house, which resulted in the past, present and mind becoming interlinked, bending time and forcing each character to deal with his or her absolute truths. 

Birdemic star Whitney Moore, along with Amber Benson, Kaytlin Borgen, Morgan Peter Brown and Dove Meir have been cast as the group of friends. Their performances feel novice at best, although who could really blame them with material like this? There is one fundamental issue with this movie's story, a lesson that really should be taught in any Creative Writing 101 class. When you are structuring any kind of writing there is one thing you should always avoid, as referenced by film director, John Sturges, “If you tell a story that’s “and then they, and then, and then” you’re in big trouble”. The fact that House of Demons definitely broke that cardinal rule is the largest and most glaring mistake that the film made. No matter the budget, cast or filmmaker's skill, you can never tell a compelling story by just displaying a series of events that are loosely put together; there needs to be a cause and effect. I believe that many would easily write this movie off as a failure simply because of its low budget. I personally disagree. If this was a $150 million-dollar blockbuster it still would not work. Lists are boring. So why is a film that is trying to entertain me nothing more than a list of events? Cinema as an art form is meant to tell a story, and if that story is compelling enough it could be shot on an iPhone and people wouldn’t care. 

From a visual standpoint, House of Demons is competent with proper coverage and lighting which are suitable for the mood of each scene. Everything was shot handheld with what looks like DSLR cameras, so there is a little digital noise and low light that can’t be avoided within this film's budget. There are some scenes of blood and gore that, although they don’t necessarily look terrible, they are still far from compelling, which is certainly another limiting factor of this film. 

As much as I dislike putting independent filmmakers down, House of Demons is simply a bad movie. Some of the best pictures I have seen were made for next to nothing, thus I truly do not believe that budget is the problem with this particular film. From even the opening titles of this film it's apparent that there is studio backing for this production, but the main flaw of this film is not its budget, but its writing. 

Unfortunately there just really is not much I can say about this particular film, other than state the obvious. To put it bluntly, House of Demons is a boring, predictable film. I understand that occasionally you will find a film that, although it is poorly written, circumstances and/or events within it can make up for the lackluster writing, but with House of Demons there’s just no redeeming qualities that I could find. I found the 80 minutes spent viewing this to be nothing more than a waste of time, and I would advise you to not waste yours with this one. 

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-Justin Laybourn