Director – Ryan Little
Cast – Corri English, Sandra McCoy, Michael J. Pagan, Corey Sevier, Alice Greczyn, Eliot Benjamin, Kelvin Clayton
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is another unworthy film that my curiosity fell victim to because of its fairly interesting plot and that ever-long hope that this “I should know better” horror film could actually turn out a fairly decent watch in the end. Unsurprisingly, I was wrong, and despite the film showing some potential to deliver some good scares the entire watch was a waste of time.
House of Fears follows a group of friends who sneak into a haunted funhouse set to open the next day. The funhouse, titled “House of Fears” centers on the 9 most common fears people have, and exploits them in a very hands-on fashion to the patron. While the friends plan on having a few good hours of fun tonight, they soon find themselves locked in the house and falling victim one by one to a supernatural entity. Little did they know, a rare artifact from Africa that was to be used as a prop in the home provided a much more “authentic” experience when a demon within the artifact was released. With the ability to manifest itself within anything inside the House of Fears, the dwindling number of survivors must determine what is real and what is not in an atmosphere where anything can kill them.
I must admit that this borderline-unbearable watch did come with some elements that showed some promise, especially the film’s first act. Fans of Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse should find themselves reminded of that great film when we are first introduced to the House of Fears, decorated with numerous animatronic monsters/clowns/etc. used to scare the patrons of the home. The look and visual feel of the film is actually quite impressive, which came as no surprise to me when I noticed this one comes directed by Ryan Little, who did a remarkable job in regards to cinematography with Saints and Soldiers. I can only imagine the genuine look of shock on my face when I noticed his name attached at the end of the film, mainly due to the fact that he is a fairly good director, and this was a huge load of crap.
While Little’s visual tone is good, the sets used in the film are very impressive and were definitely the highlight of this flick. This allowed for much potential for the film to amount to a good watch, but it just did not happen. The rest of Little’s direction is sub-par, with horrible camerawork, pathetic edits reminiscent of Saw V(ouch), and worst of all…horrendous acting from everyone involved.
The screenplay did not help Little, and aided in worsening the sour taste already in my mouth over what was happening on-screen before me. Despite heavily enjoying the idea of a haunted funhouse focusing on your fears, everything else going on with the storyline went downhill. Writer Steven A. Lee had a decent story to build off of, but instead of the film progressing to anything worthwhile we are instead just given the usual horror clichés that I can only enjoy if properly executed, and as you can tell by now…they weren’t. We do get a mix of colorful characters, which is supposed to aid in keeping the viewer’s interest due to their diversity and the fact that it adds more potential kills to the film, but they really did not do anything for me due to how they were employed in the story, and the fact that the actors portraying them were possibly to “scared” to act.
Overall, this is a film that despite coming with a cool story suffers from a terrible screenplay and equally terrible direction. The next time your drunk friends won’t leave your home just put this film on and thank me later.