DarkHouse

Review: Dark House (2009)

by Ursa McKracken – electronsexparty.blogspot.com

Best Bad Quote:

“What kind of black guy plays chess and watches PBS?”

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Jeffrey Combs can do no wrong. Sure, the movies he’s in are sometimes the biggest sack of wrong to ever be committed to celluloid. But, Jeffery Combs is always awesome, always chewing the fuck out of the scenery like a starving man, and generally just commanding your attention in every scene he’s in. But, thankfully, Fangoria’s Dark House has more going for it than just Combs. Despite its devastatingly generic title, Dark House turns out to be a fun little slasher flick.

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You’ll have to forgive the beginning, however. It’s absolutely stupid (but perfect for some Mystery Science Theater 3000 style riffing). You see, there’s this creepy house. A creepy immaculately maintained Victorian house that’s painted a pleasant shade of light blue, with quaint architectural details, and a sunny, welcoming porch. But, it’s creepy, okay, because this weird foster mother lives there with her eight foster children. One day, fourteen years ago, a young girl decided to trespass on this creepy house to prove to her friends that she was bad ass. So, in broad daylight, she walks up to the creepy, adorable door and goes right in. The dead body of a kid at the front door has the audacity to just lay there and bleed, so she enters the creepy house further, looking for someone who will properly greet her. The dead kid on the stairs just lays there too. And the dead kids in the parlor. One kid even decided to be murdered on the table! What a little snot!

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Finally, she finds someone who is not dead. In the kitchen, the foster mother has decided to murder her hands too. So she sticks them in her garbage disposal. Because movie garbage disposals are bladed and magical, this reduces the foster mother’s hands to a bloody stump. Our intrepid trespasser sees the pantry door move, so she walks past the murderous woman grinding her hand to a pulp and puts her eye to the keyhole. She promptly freaks the fuck out when another eye meets hers and she slips on the copious amount of blood coating the floor, causing her to pass out.

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Now, years later, we meet this basket case brunette who is traumatized by what happened in the house. Her psychiatrist instructs her to meet her trauma head on by visiting the house, with a seven nation army if need be. This surely will cure her trauma and not end in slaughter! Convenient coincidence kicks in when her drama class is recruited by a flamboyant Jeffrey Combs to be actors in his horror attraction that utilizes the house as a creepy backdrop.

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The Dark House uses advanced holographic technology to create realistic images of scary things. Like clowns and mad scientists and witches. But, when some cannon fodder- I mean- two reporters come to the attraction for a sneak peek at the horror, the ghost of the murderous foster mother decides to give the computers running the show a ghost virus. This, naturally, causes the holograms to become solid and start killing. Then it becomes a slasher film, with different holographic images killing people with glorious sprays of blood.

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You might be saying, “But, wait! Aren’t holograms just recordings of scattered light?” (Thanks Wikipedia!) And, normally, I’d say, “It’s a movie about ghosts. Just sit back and try to relax.” Dark House has an explanation for this, however. Though, it’s possibly a more problematic one that just rolling with the fact that a ghost caused it. But, don’t worry. There are multiple endings, and a few explanations, just so you really know just what happened. And, there is no ambiguity, really, about what happened. It is what it is. I like that in this case, because it makes the movie so easy to watch. No brain power required, which is nice occasionally.

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You’ll get a kick out of, not only Jeffrey Combs’ scenery chewing, but that of the foster mother. She’s amazingly over the top. You’ll think she’s choking back vomit with each line she spits out. That is, when she’s not flying into a psychotic rage. It’s absolutely fantastic. There are a couple of annoying characters, as is required in a slasher movie, but they get killed off fairly quickly. The film is also refreshingly self-aware. There’s one scene where three characters pull out their Zippo’s to illuminate a dark room. One of them says “It’s a good thing we’re all smokers.”

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I know, it sounds kind of stupid. But just trust me, it’s not as stupid as it sounds. There are many things that make Dark House a surprisingly enjoyable film. From the laughable beginning, to scenery that gets ripped to shreds by many of the actors, to the… well, look, okay. It’s kind of stupid. But, the kind of stupid that’s fun and leaves you laughing, not the kind of stupid that leaves you banging your head on the wall. It’s a bad movie lover’s kind of stupid.

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Rating:

4 out of 5 Evil Clowns

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