Dark House Blu-ray Review
A woman with dark, curled hair and fresh makeup (apparently the asylum she’s in has quite a salon) sits quietly by herself facing the window. When her son enters, she is shaking. She looks at him and says how much he reminds her of his father. Her son reminds her that she supposedly doesn’t remember the man. He grows upset and, reaching to touch her, sees a flash of fire engulf his mother.
Nick Di Santo (Luke Kleintank, who has appeared on the soap opera THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and Fox’s BONES) has a gift, which, like many “gifts” in horror movies, is also a curse. When he touches someone, he can see how they die. “There’s no information on when or why or how…I just see it.” Pretty cool party trick, huh?
Soon after his 23rd birthday, Nick learns that his mother (Lesley-Anne Down, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) has indeed died in a fire. In the will, his mother has left him a house, which Nick recognizes in a photograph from sketches he’s been doing his entire life. And so Nick, his best friend Ryan (Anthony Rey Perez, DON’T PASS ME BY) and his girlfriend Eve (Alex McKenna, who appeared in the DALLAS reboot) hit to road to see the house.
When they arrive, they, with the help of township employees Sam (Ethan S. Smith, SKETCH) and Chris (Zack Ward, best remembered as Scut Farkus)—who Nick’s visions tell us will get an axe in the chest and an axe to the throat—step on the property and encounter a man in a long black jacket named Seth (the SAW franchise’s Tobin Bell, sporting quite a set of locks).
DARK HOUSE is the latest from Victor Salva, whose JEEPERS CREEPERS series has proved popular at the box office. Those movies, despite how bad the overall products are, had a few decent and amusing kills (like the beheaded jock in JEEPERS CREEPERS 2), but Salva doesn’t bother to even try to get creative here. Then, there are really only so many ways to kill a person or scare the audience with an axe—or a heating vent, for that matter.
As the movie progresses, each main character gets a chance to spout their own laughable, poorly written-/shouted- line, from “Axemen! Axemen everywhere!” to “Tell your friend to stop swinging that bat!” (delivered by the demon version of Nick’s mother) to the cringe-worthy exchange of “Don’t touch me!” “I touched your jacket!” which may or may not have been lifted from an elementary school playground.
The movie is cheap in every sense of the word: none of the scares work (especially when Salva resorts to score cues to get the viewer to jump), the acting is wooden and the screenplay lifts from far too many similar movies before it. Screenwriters Salva and Charles Agron (who both also served as co-producers) cram in so many clichés—there’s the spooky house, the “gift/curse,” the mysterious town, the road trip, the urban myths…—that the movie starts to feel like an accidental parody of whatever it wants to be.
DARK HOUSE BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. A good portion of DARK HOUSE takes place at night, which this video transfer nicely presents with deep, inky blacks that don’t inadvertently hide any of the characters or sets.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Subtitles in English. The dialogue is clear throughout and the soundtrack cues (however cheap they may be) prove to be effective.
The Making of DARK HOUSE (20:44) is a standard promotional piece with on-set footage, clips and interviews.