House of the Witch – USA, 2017 – reviews

‘This house belongs to her’

House of the Witch is a 2017 American made-for-TV horror feature film about a haunted house inhabited by a demonic witch.

Directed by Alex Merkin (No Escape Room; House of Bodies; Across the Hall) from a screenplay written by producer Neil Elman (Lavalantula and sequel; I Spit on Your Grave 2; Mongolian Death Worm; Caved In; et al), the Distilled Media production stars Emily Bader, Darren Mann, Michelle Randolph and Coy Stewart.

Plot:

A group of high-school kids set out to play a Halloween prank at an abandoned house, but once they enter they become victims of a demonic witch who has set her wrath upon them.

Reviews:

Let’s say that you’re a teenager and you’re living in a small, rural town. There’s not really much to do, other than making out in pickup trucks and hanging out at the local diner. However, there is a haunted house.

Of course, the official story is that the house isn’t haunted because everyone knows that there’s no such thing as ghosts. That said, the house does have a long and somewhat infamous history. And everyone knows that going anywhere near the house would probably be considered to be trespassing.

In fact, one of your classmates is currently missing. He was last seen talking to two girls who dared him to pry the address off of the house’s front door.

House of the Witch is a wonderfully creepy little movie about a group of teenagers who give in to their natural instincts and break into a house on Halloween. Needless to say, the house turns out to be even more haunted than they were led to believe. In fact, the house is home to an ancient witch.

Soon, everyone is trapped in the house and being hunted down one-by-one. Blood is spilt. Fingers are lost. Faces are infected with … something.

The storyline may sound simple but it’s also wonderfully effective and atmospheric. The dilapidated house is a truly frightening location and it just gets more frightening as the film progresses.

By the end of the movie, I was looking over my shoulder to make sure that there weren’t any witches creeping around my living room. The film does a great job of keeping the viewer off-balance. Even though you know that damn witch is going to be behind every corner, you still jump when she suddenly pops up.

The whole look of House of the Witch is good. Early on, there’s a wonderful overhead shot of a pickup truck heading towards the house and the scene perfectly captures not only the creepiness of Halloween but also the emptiness of life in the nearby small town. Seeing the truck driving past empty and endless fields, it was easy to understand why the film’s characters were drawn to that cursed house. In a landscape defined by nothing, that house and its infamous reputation was at least something.

All in all, this is a great movie for Halloween.

Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens

Other reviews:

” …just like an awesome dessert can save even the most mediocre meal, an awesome ending to a movie can do a lot to raise the overall impression you’re left with. The ending of House of the Witch did actually improve the overall experience for me – even if it wasn’t crazy innovative or anything.” Heaven of Horror

“Has a mild budget but dumps a kitchen sink of ideas into a gumbo that was not made by a seasoned chef. Some things work like the teens partying down in a haunted house (will never get old). Other things don’t really connect like everything that happens in the house.” Letterboxd

Choice dialogue:

“This house is haunted! And not like Scooby-freakin’-Doo, maaan!”

Release:

House of the Witch is distributed by MarVista Entertainment and premiered on the Syfy channel on October 7th, 2017. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Cast and characters:

  • Emily Bader … Lana
  • Darren Mann … Shane
  • Michelle Randolph … Rachel
  • Coy Stewart … Dax
  • Jesse Pepe … Brody
  • Arden Belle … Taylor
  • Nolan Bateman … Lloyd
  • Hunter Trammell … Charlie Rice
  • Jules Hartley … Wendy Brady
  • Joel Nagle … Karl
  • Joseph Curtis Callender … Officer Wilson
  • Grace Balbo … Charlie’s Friend
  • Logan Greene … Charlie’s Friend
  • Paloma Paulin … The Witch
  • Louie Kurtzman … Basement Ghoul

Filming locations:

Meadowcrest, Lexington, Kentucky

Working title:

The Wiccan

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