Horror, 93 Minutes, 2011
[Wife and kids are away visiting for the holidays. I’m staying home with movies. Just call me “Scrooge”. The fun one, with the Muppets.]
You know those nights when you go to a Halloween rave at a creepy old plantation house that’s been empty since a massacre occured there 85 years ago? Then the police break it up but you’re stuck in the place with six friends because they locked the gates when they left? Maybe there’s a drug dealer there who owes his supplier a lot of money? Maybe there’s a guy there that your friend wants to get to know better? Maybe you find some corpses in the basement that turn out to be demons that want to rape their into you because if all seven of them can possess a living human before dawn they’ll be free to roam the Earth forever?
You know those nights?
This is tepid remake of the 1988 B-movie classic of the same name [IMDB]. The producers tossed out nearly all of the original, and much simpler, story for no obvious reason other than that they could. There are a lot of callbacks to the original (including the infamous lipstick scene) but they tend not to play as well. While there are a few effective gross-out moments most of the scares fall flat.
The effects are practical and, for the most part, work well enough (although there are a few stinkers that’ll make you cringe). There’s nothing particularly original but bleeding walls and hands-through-mirrors are classics for a reason. The acting is good enough for the material but that’s damning with faint praise. It is noteworthy that the few better-known actors seem to put the worst performances, however.
The main issue is that the movie couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a serious update or a campy homage to unintentionally campy original. By walking the line so carefully between the two it only succeeded in miring itself in mediocrity.