RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Amanda Righetti as ARIEL WOLFE
Erik Palladino as DESMOND
Cerina Vincent as MICHELLE
Tom Riley as PAUL
Andrew Lee Potts as KYLE
Directed by: Victor Garcia
Studio: Warner Premiere
BY KEVIN CARR
About ten years ago, Hollywood stepped up their effort to mine classics (and some not-so-classic) horror films for modern remakes. At the same time that the big-budget remake of “The Haunting” was coming down the pike, Warner Bros. remade the William Castle rip-off “House on Haunted Hill.”
Now, the studio has made a sequel to the remake of the rip-off. With a lead-in like this, it’s easy to have low expectations. However, with the exception of not having some bigger names in the cast (like Geoffrey Rush in the original remake), “Return to House on Haunted Hill” actually turned out pretty decent.
The sequel follows Ariel Wolfe (Amanda Righetti), the sister of the only survivor of the first film. Ariel is dragged back to the haunted house by dueling anthropologists who are searching for a mysterious and invaluable artifact. However, in the search for this artifact, the group becomes trapped in the haunted house, which torments and kills them one by one.
If “Return to House on Haunted Hill” had been a platform theatrical release, it would have been a disappointment. However, as direct-to-video Halloween thrills go, it’s not bad. In fact, it’s better than some of the garbage that’s being released in the theaters today.
The highlights of the cast come from the leggy Amanda Righetti in the lead role and sultry scream queen Cerina Vincent as the double-crossing bad girl. Boiled down to its basic elements, “Return to House on Haunted Hill” is a slasher flick with the house and ghosts as the villain instead of a psycho in a hockey mask. And it’s also great to see horror legend Jeffrey Combs reprise his role as the insane Dr. Vannacutt. It’s definitely worth checking out for the horror fan this Halloween season.
The DVD comes with several in-character features, including interviews with the cast on set and a short documentary about the Dr. Richard Hammer’s search to find the lost idol. There are also deleted and extended scenes, along with a Mushroomhead music video.