Steve Miner’s House

There’s a lot going on here for a film with the simple and straightforward title ‘House,’ and not all of adds up for a coherent or clear minded horror flick but it’s still a lot of warped, gooey fun with some great 80’s practical effects, a decidedly anthology vibe despite, well, not being anthology at all really and the same kind of mischievous, rambunctious, irreverent tone to the horror that one might find in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films. It’s also directed by Steve Miner who has deep horror roots, having helmed the very first Friday The 13th long ago so the force is solidly strong with this one, in terms of horror speak. William Katt plays a writer who moves into a creaky old house with his family and before they even have a chance to unpack their shit his kid goes missing, like literally before you even get properly introduced to the characters, it’s wild and hilarious. As the ominous yet silly tone is set we also meet all kinds of other ghosts and ghoulies including some spectacularly gruesome monsters that live in the closet, a fat bottomed zombie girl who keeps showing up to torment him (this is where the film feels most like Evil Dead), some pesky sentient gardening tools that follow him around, George Wendt as his sorta friendly sorta nosy neighbour who keeps bringing him beer in offers that he rudely snubs and the mummified remains of an old Nam war buddy (Richard Moll) who come back to haunt and remind him of some psychological incident regarding the war that can’t be put to rest. There is a LOT going on and unfortunately the film can’t make proper sense of it or make it all feel like it’s coherently connected beyond a kind of scattered episodic feel, hence my references to anthology films above. However, what it lacks in clear vision it makes up for in cheer lunatic energy and boisterous charm, each oozy new set piece and special effect clearly showing a level of artistry, creation and off the wall deadpan humour that is impressive and fun, the acting from everyone, Wendt in particular, is very good and it all feels like everyone was having a good time.

-Nate Hill