by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)
Michael Madsen as TIN MAN
Reynaldo Rosales as JACK SINGLETON
Heidi Dippold as STEPHANIE SINGLETON
Julie Ann Emery as LESLIE TAYLOR
J.P. Davis as RANDY MESSARUE
Lew Temple as PETE
Leslie Easterbrook as BETTY
Bill Moseley as STEWART
Directed by: v
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A young couple on their way to a marriage counselor wreck in the middle of nowhere. They head to a creepy looking hotel to find a phone so they can call for a tow-truck. However, at the hotel, they discover another couple that has had a break-down. The hotel proprietors start to help them, but a mysterious stranger known as the Tin Man shows up outside with the demand that they send out a dead body or heíll kill them all. As the guests try to escape and avoid the Tin Man, they are also confronted with the sins of their past.
WHAT I LIKED
Iíve always enjoyed a good haunted house movie. Iíve seen this sort of thing done before, especially in low-budget direct-to-DVD releases. But Iím okay with retreading familiar ground if itís presented well. On some levels, things are somewhat fresh.
The Tin Man character is another version of a psychotic killer that weíve seen before. The one thing that works on this film is that the Tin Man doesnít show up to directly confront his prey. Instead, he works on their psychological fears and pits them against each other.
The imagery works best in the film with decent cinematography. The artsy effects go overboard a bit at times, but itís still an interesting film to watch.
WHAT I DIDNíT LIKE
The characters are cut from the same cloth weíve seen a lot. This isnít always a bad thing, but itís hard to feel sympathy for them because they are emotionally stunted people. Jack (Reynaldo Rosales), in particular, is a real jerk, and his rocky relationship with his wife Stephanie (Heidi Dippold) may be justified, but heís just not likeable.
Another place where the film stumbles is with its charactersí histories. The fact that they all have hidden sins in their past are brought up seemingly out of nowhere. Sure, we know that Jack and Heidi were having problems, considering they were trying to get to the marriage counselor. However, we didnít know how deep these marital wounds had been cut, and when they are revealed, it seemed to be out of place.
Overall, the pacing and characters are where ďHouseĒ suffers. The film works as a direct-to-DVD horror movie, but it definitely has its rocky moments.
With the exception of a slate of trailers, there are no special features on the menu.
WHOíS GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Horror movie fans looking for a different movie on a budget.