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Erebus is an anthology horror film inspired by the well-documented history of supernatural phenomenon in Rhode Island. Using Block Island's intimate setting as a backdrop, Erebus centers around the Gorham House, a mysterious old hotel with a torrid history of violent occult activity, as well as supernatural, and paranormal. Seeking to document the hotel for a new book, Samantha and Benny, journey to investigate the hotel, learning of its terrifying history along the way by relaying three horrifying tales of its previous owners. "Devil" - Robert Neville was the reclusive inheritor and owner of the Gorham House in the 1950s. Within the bowels of the hotel he harbors a grotesque secret, which unfortunately for him, just got out. "Exposure" - Frank Martin is a 1970s era forensic photographer who is commissioned by the historical society to take on the task of photographing all their properties, starting with the Gorham House. As he begins to photograph the premises his pictures expose ... Written by
Cut To The Chase Productions
In recent times there has been a surge of independently made horror anthology films. A lot of the time these films employ multiple directors (each for a different vignette) and make use of some kind of gimmick or vaguely defined theme. Many of these films are just too episodic in nature and really fail at making any impact with their empty bits of shock value. EREBUS however is very different from this mold as it has more in common with the likes of classic horror anthology movies made by British studio Amicus Productions than a contemporary film of the likes of V/H/S. With the entire film being helmed by director Rick Laprade, EREBUS has a cohesion that's missing from a lot of the modern takes on the horror anthology sub-genre. Erebus' vignettes and wraparound story take place across a few different decades, but there's enough of an overarching narrative to make each vignette compliment one another and create something that comes together quite nicely in the end.
As a movie, EREBUS is quite atmospheric and genuinely terrifying. Shot on location in Block Island, the film makes prime use of a historic hotel as its main setting. The hotel's signature facade along with some very dark and stormy New England weather does a lot for the film. Coupled with the subtext of Block Island's real-life haunted history, the movie is all the more eerie. EREBUS doesn't need cheap "jump out at you" thrills to be legitimately creepy and it employs clever editing and other tricks to play it's on screen paranormal encounters to maximum effect.
One thing that's impressive about EREBUS is just how well it captures the different time periods it depicts on a meager budget. This is particularly true of the second vignette called "Exposure" that is set in the 1970s. The cars, costumes, and props appear spot-on and vignette lead actor Marc Vos looks like he walked off of a time-machine onto the set. And then there's the hotel itself and all the creepy furnishings that come with it. Without spoiling too much, a stand out is a vintage portable television that is utilized in a more terrifying manner than whatever type of lame shot-on-video gimmick you'll see today.
It's hugely impressive in general how EREBUS is able to achieve so much with very little and it's straightforward and "old school" in the best possible way. If there are any real glaring flaws it's that some of the film's slicker aspects do detract a bit. An HBO style motion graphics title sequence headlines the film along with some use of snappy jump cuts during the first few minutes. A minor gripe related mostly to taste, but these stylistic choices don't really feel in tune with the rest of the film either. All in all, EREBUS is a stand-out entry in today's high volume of indie horror (and more specifically, horror anthology) releases.
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