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House on Willow Street - Movie Review

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From a House on Willow Street - Movie Review

3 starsTongues.  Why did it have to be tongues?

Burning doll eyes – with their cherub faces growing increasingly elongated due to the intense heat – are some scary-ass creepy shit.  That’s how the very pulpy and very bloody House on Willow Street opens.  An extreme close-up on glassy doll eyes as fire licks up in the reflection spreading across them.    And that’s about as safe AND as sane as this South African horror movie gets.

Written, directed, and edited by Alastair Orr (Indigenous), House on Willow Street deals with a kidnapping gone ass up and all sorts of wrong.  Hazel (Sharni Vinson), boyfriend Ade (Steven Ward), Mark (Zino Ventura) and James (Gustav Gerderner) want the easy way toward wealth and riches it seems.  They plan and execute the kidnapping of bleary-eyed Katherine (Carlyn Burchell), the daughter of a rich diamond dealer.  What they get is something altogether different. 

Katherine’s not like other girls.  She’s not going down their path of helplessness.  No, not this young lady; she’s hiding something dark and twisted down within her and its about to change everyone’s evening…for the worse.

While atmospheric as hell, multi-layered with narratives that connect to each other, and expertly crafted, far too many of House on Willow Street’s scares rely on lame “jump’ tactics.  Characters walk into rooms.  Something scary is there.  They turn around.  Something is there.  Boom!  Did I scare you?!  Scenes like this one – and there are plenty in this horror film - are a massive disservice to a movie that adds a new type of monster to the horror cannon.  We expect it, though, amongst all the ripped torso and bloody carnage, we sadly expect it.

All that is missing is a cat leaping out from the shadows.

Most of the film takes place in an abandoned warehouse.  Darkness is its best friend.  This is where Katherine is being held.  Her kidnappers – patiently awaiting word from her rich parents – don’t suspect her of being anything but their hostage until it is far too late.  And then all the monsters – some quite demented-looking with twisted faces and enlarged eyeballs – are on the prowl. 

When all of the kidnappers start seeing creepy crawlies and some weird-looking monsters roaming the halls, walls, and fields, it is too late.  One by one, the kidnappers are taken down by the strangest of creatures.  One is severely gagged and arguably impregnated by a serpentine tongue crammed down his throat.  Others start seeing ghosts of relatives, demented and deranged as they are. 

And all the kidnappers have their own secrets; secrets these creatures like to exploit.  Especially, the girl they’ve kidnapped…or is she – whatever she is – their only real threat?  There is something very wrong with that house.  I don’t care who you are; House on Willow Street is going to – in some capacity – make you squirm.

There’s quite a lot of baggage to unpack when moving into House on Willow Street.

From a House on Willow Street - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
90 mins
: Alastair Orr
Catherine Blackman, Jonathan Jordaan
Carlyn Burchell, Gustav Gerdener, Zino Ventura
: Horror
Evil has an address...
Memorable Movie Quote: "I think we all agree on one thing. The sooner we get this over, the better."
Theatrical Distributor:
IFC Midnight
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 24, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details avialable
Synopsis: A kidnapped girl with a demonic secret turns the tables on her captors in this claustrophobic thriller.

No details available.

From a House on Willow Street - Movie Review

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