Sunday, 27 October 2013

MOVIES: In Brief (October 27th 2013)

A round up of one recently viewed movie, and one you may have missed earlier this year...

The Wrong House aka House Hunting

2013 USA, 102m, 101 Films - Cert 18

Two families go house hunting, and arrive to view the same remote property. After looking around the place, they come across a young girl whose tongue has been cut out. When they try to get her some help, they find they are unable to leave. With no other option, they set up makeshift home, before tensions between the two groups begin to show. Meanwhile, the real estate salesman who introduced them to the house keeps appearing in the grounds at odd intervals...

After an uncertain start, The Wrong House turns into quite an engrossing piece. The interplay between the members of the two families is nicely handled by writer/director Eric Hurt, as we gradually come to realise that these people are held at the house for a reason. There is an uncomfortable atmosphere, and some nice touches (like a food cupboard which mysteriously restocks itself) help to keep the creepy quotient cranked up. It is, however far too long for its own good. Some scenes, although well staged do feel like they need tightening up, but the central story is intriguing nonetheless. Flawed, but well worth seeing. 6.5/10

When The Lights Went Out

2012 UK, 86m, Revolver Entertainment - Cert 15

Pontefract, Yorkshire, 1974. The Maynard family think they have moved into their dream home. Then they discover it is already possessed by a violent poltergeist, and their lives become a nightmare of increasingly violent attacks...

In a world where it feels like every horror movie on the planet claims to be either based on or inspired by real events, it's refreshing to get one which is the real deal, for the events depicted here have been recorded as the most violent known poltergeist occurrence in Britain. The names have been changed, but director Pat Holden is a friend of the real life family, and goes to great lengths to present a straightforward, unsensationalised account of their tale. It also captures the period detail of the time perfectly.

If it is let down by anything at all, it is in the occasional interspersing of humour at badly timed moments, especially near the climax. Whilst it is true that in real life people will be inclined to make a joke to break tension in a fraught situation, and this approach does work in the film's favour on the whole, there is the odd moment when it breaks the mood.

Still, this is a minor gripe in a refreshing and effective, low-key chiller which is worth a dozen Paranormal Activity flicks. Also surely the only instance of The Sweet's "Little Willy" being used in a scary context... 7.2/10

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