To be truthful, most of the time this film is a yawnfest. The story has been done before. Quite a few times now... and a lot of them are better than this.
The story starts well enough. The teens are bored on this Halloween night (where's Mikey when you need him?) so they decide to go to an extreme haunted house. The trouble is they can't find it. However, while driving down a deserted country road Harper (Katie Stevens) spots they are being followed. In an effort to lose their shadow they take a turn off. This section is the tensest part of the film. Shame it's for nothing as the truck doesn't follow them... it was just a way to get the lost teens to an extreme haunted house, which may or may not be the one they were trying to get to. This scene is one of the better sequences in the film and wasn't even needed - why couldn't they just go to the haunted house? Why did the story need this nonsense? This is when the story started to slip for me.
I have to say that the haunted house and its inhabitants aren't too bad. Though more extremity in the scares would not have gone amiss. At the beginning, they have a silent creepy clown - nice. Inside and sans mobile phones they have a cheap plastic skeleton, a witch who supposedly tortures people (though, you never see much), a tacky maze made of pallets, a tunnel to crawl through, and a few holes to push your arms through. There's a couple of sections where spiders are involved but apart from that, there's very little to scare you here. Now don't get me wrong, the directors do an okay job of creating a little atmosphere and tension at some of these points to make you feel a little uneasy. However, should you have been in there, without the spooky music and ambience, then you'd, more than likely, just be bored. The story started to slip a little more. There had been plenty of opportunities to scare the bejesus out of the audience as well as the cast and the writers threw it away.
But we can't put it all down to the writers. The actors can share some of the blame for the weakness of scares. Especially the "holes in the wall" scene. Here was the perfect moment to show off your well-honed acting talent... okay, maybe not. To be honest, the cast is as average as it can get. The only one who brought some skill to the show was Andrew Caldwell who played Adam.
Then we get to the last third of the film and now the crap hits the fan... in a good way. You begin to realise that something isn't quite right about this haunted house. Yep, it may be boring as... hell, but what's happening behind the scenes? Blood, guts, and gore... that's what. The special effects are well decent. I especially loved the hayfork through the head... but not because of the hayfork through the head... but for the eye. Watch the eye of the attacked woman; it's details like this that adds the cherry to the top of the cake.
But all of this smacks as "too little too late". Some of the viewers may have turned off or switched over to watch Downton Abbey well before now. What the writers and directors, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, should have done was offer this excitement to the audience right from the off; or at least built up the story to this crescendo. Not put us through a dull two-thirds of the film and then dunk us into the mayhem all at once.
Then when the reason for the carnage is revealed it's weak and, well, rather silly.
Back in the fifties, it was the teenagers who were the evil ones. Dancing lasciviously to raunchy rock and roll and being wild and uncontrollable... with the latent desire to cause chaos and take drugs... In the seventies and eighties, it was the red-necks who could kill you and add you to the cooking pot. In the nineties and the noughties, the corporations were not to be trusted. They'd sell their souls and their families to be rich. For this film though, it's the body dysmorphic and the body modifiers who are evil... and for no other apparent reason but this. Come on guys, what did you do? Just pick a minority group - hey nobody's used these guys before, let's do it.
The thing for me is, I know a few people who have had implants and other modifications to their bodies. To me, it's not shocking. It just feels that Beck and Woods chose these just to shock... so for me, it was just a trashy gimmick.
In conclusion, I would only recommend this film to horror fans and only if you're all viewed out of the good stuff. You should enjoy the ending section though you'll have to wade through a lot of missed opportunities to get to it. But it's this climax that lifts the film into mediocrity and out of dreadfulness.
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