Death House (2017)
Directed By: Harrison Smith
Written By: Gunnar Hansen, Harrison Smith
Death House was a highly hyped movie for a little while. Known as “The Expendables of Horror”, the idea was to get as many horror icons as possible to come together and make a film. It took longer than expected and the results fall far short of the excitement.
It’s great to have a fun concept but it doesn’t matter if you don’t turn it into a good movie. The plot of Death House centers on two young agents who are being introduced to a high-tech underground prison that houses the worst of the worst criminals. Of course, things can’t go smoothly and they find themselves trapped in the prison with all of these criminals, who have been released from their cells. It’s not a lot but I have seen good films made from less.
Think of an iconic horror actor and they are most likely in this movie (Robert Englund’s absence is odd but, based on how it turned out, he dodged a bullet). Here’s a partial list: Kane Hodder, Barbara Crampton, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace, Tony Todd, Sid Haig, Adrienne Barbeau and Felissa Rose. These are mostly small roles in the film. The two leads are Cody Longo and Cortney Palm as the two young agents. It would have been easy for them to be swallowed up by all of the favorites surrounding them but to their credit they manage to hold their own. The acting isn’t the problem with Death House.
The biggest issue is the way that it is shot. It’s often too dark to really tell what is happening on screen. This is a common problem and it rears it’s head here. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to follow the action sequences because it’s too dark to see either what is happening or who it is happening to. This film is plagued by darkness.
The other issue that I had was the sloppy writing. We are asked to follow the filmmakers down the path they have laid out with this high-tech underground prison and we go. They then ask us to follow them down the path of a power failure causing all of this chaos and we go. The final straw for me came when they tried to get me to follow them down the path of the supernatural. I won’t go into it anymore than that because I don’t want to spoil anything but it left me shaking my head and sighing.
Getting the legends of the genre together to make a movie was a brilliant idea. Getting them together to make this movie was a huge waste. You’ll have a better time watching literally anything other than Death House.