Horror. Worldview. Faith.

House of Fears – Review

House of Fears – Review

Jan 18, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by Ryan Little, 2007
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Let’s be honest, is there any better genre of horror than the “break into a dark ride to spend the night with a group of teenagers?”  Funhouse by Tobe Hooper is the dark ride movie by which all others are judged.  Interestingly there seems to be a revival of these movies in the last few years and I am pretty pumped about it.  House of Fears is exactly that.  A new local haunted house is holding their grand opening, but the night before the big event a group of young people decide to spend the night inside the creepy haunt.  The trespass is made possible because one of the participants actually works at the haunt doing odd jobs, so he has a key.  Once inside, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that things aren’t quite right.

The owner of the haunt had purchased an ancient small statue that apparently carries with it the power to animate your worst fears.  When this statue came in contact with the atmosphere of the haunted attraction, it was a match made in heaven.  The group begins to see their fears materialize right in front of them and from there it is a race to find a way outside the haunted house and avoid the worst kind of death.  Fears that are included among the group are clowns, being buried alive, scarecrows, suffocating (similar to buried alive), and electrocution.

Director Ryan Little certainly takes cues from Hooper with the direction of the film, even going as far as to create a bit of tension between daughter and father at the beginning of the film, just as in the movie Funhouse.  However, House of Fears carries with it more of a supernatural undertone than do most movies of this sort.  Whereas the villain in most “locked in a dark ride” movies are just psychotic killers, House of Fears uses the presence of this unholy statue as the source for all things creepy.  Toward the end of the movie, we get a feeling of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” as the lead character, Samantha, boldly tells her fear (a scarecrow) that she is not afraid of him, thereby severely limiting the power of the scarecrow.

One of the weaknesses of the film, and something I probably should have gotten over quicker than I did, was the lack of exits in the haunted house.  Being someone who has a fairly broad knowledge of haunted houses and their creation, I kept chuckling at the idea that these kids had to “go back to the front” to get out of the house.  In reality, there would have been 25 exits leading outside in a dark ride attraction like this.  The finally do discover a blueprint of the facility and locate another exit in the very back!  The film managed to get around the solution of simply calling for help on their cell phones by allowing one of the members of the group to notice how thick the walls were in the attraction; there was no cell service.

This is a fun, humorous, entertaining horror movie.  It certainly isn’t great or even very good, but it is a great movie to watch with a date and a bag of popcorn.  The ending is unbelievably predictable, but it is the only way to make possible a sequel!  My guess is we won’t be seeing one any time soon.

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