#162 -- House (2008)

Director: Robby Henson
Rating: 4/5

This was originally a book co-written by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. It was published in 2006 as a Christian horror novel. Sounds kind of strange, but it was actually quite good. I'm not usually one for religious themed movies/books, but I enjoyed House. Thought it was themed on religion, it masked it a little bit and was able to be a true horror story. I enjoyed the book, and I thought that the movie was a pretty good adaptation. It starts off pretty cliched, but it changes quickly and becomes very unique. It takes place in rural Alabama, and we start with Jack and Stephanie, a trouble couple on their way to marriage counseling. They hit a snag in their trip, though, when they run into some scrap metal in the road. They are not the only ones; there is another abandoned car not far from theirs. Two of their tires are ruined and they, of course, only have one spare. Almost immediately, it begins to storm. They decide to go to try and find some help. They end up at a shady looking bed and breakfast with the folks from the other car. They are Randy and Leslie. The owners/workers of the bed and breakfast are nowhere to be found, so they take the liberty of checking themselves in. Once they're all acquainted with one another, the power goes out, and they meet with the creepy owners. It's Becky, Petey, and Stewart. See what I mean about it being really cliche? Troubled couple, check. Some southern backwoods, check. Car trouble, check. Storm, check. Creepy building with creepy residents, check. Power outage, check. It's typical horror movie formula, and we don't hate it. Not long after meeting Becky, Petey and Stewart, they notice a strange man outside. Becky and the others then begin to seal up the house, claiming that if he gets in, they're all "as good as dead." He's known as the Tin Man, and he's hell-bent on killing everyone in the house. He throws a tin can in through the window, and on it are written three rules. Rule #1: God came to my house, and I killed him. Rule #2: I will kill anyone who enters my house, just like I killed God. Rule #3: Give me one dead body before sunrise, and I'll let Rule #2 slide. So, there's their dilemma. They must kill someone if they want to survive.

That's an interesting enough story as it is, but there's more. The house is some kind of labyrinth, with endless corridors full of bad memories. The house knows everything about them: the mistakes they've made and the sins they've committed. The point is to make them realize their sins and atone for them. Becky and her family are no saints, either, and they're all in it with the Tin Man. Jack and Stephanie, Randy and Leslie: they all have something in common. They were all responsible for the death of someone close to them. They've sinned, and they must pay for it. The Tin Man made murderers out of them all, because they all wanted to kill each other in order to save themselves. In one of the corridors, Jack met with a mysterious little girl named Susan. It seemed like she was hiding just like them, but she has a secret that just might save them all.

There isn't a whole lot of gore in this one, but it does manage to be scary. I think the terror here is being faced with all the things you've done wrong, mistakes you've made that have cost you dearly. There's nothing worse than being faced with your deepest regrets. That, and the fact that there were four different people trying to kill everyone. There was talk of God, and references to darkness and light; good and evil. But even so, it didn't feel like a sermon. It just felt like a genuine horror movie. Naturally, if you want the full experience, you should read the book. But if books aren't your thing, then definitely check out the movie. It doesn't disappoint. Also, it stars Leslie Easterbrook and Bill Moseley from House of 1000 Corpses; and another guy who was apparently in The Devil's Rejects.

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