Writer/Director Dante Tomaselli merges two disturbing story lines into this visually arresting chiller. The first involves a band of five teens that escape from a drug rehabilitation center to cash in on a questionable promise of salvation from the psychopathic Reverend Salo Jr.. Leader of the pack Luck, fueled on major hallucinogens, transports the gang to the reverend's isolated house where the basis of the second plot has been set simultaneously. Here lives Grace, Salo Jr.'s daughter, whom he and his equally bizarre wife have enslaved through enforced drug addiction and psychic brainwashing. Grace's only salvation appears to be by the guidance of her paternal grandfather Reverend Salo Sr.. But this hope is quickly jeopardized when it becomes revealed that his comforting visitations may be being made from beyond the grave. Regardless, it is through Grace's visions involving him that she learns of her parent's demonic pastimes, which include abduction, murder, and possibly worse. ...Written by
First of all, this is a low, low budget film. A basement film. A film clearly made by a gang of enthusiastic amateurs rather than a Hollywood production studio. The acting is basically what you'd expect from a movie starring your stoner friends. The sets are what you might find around town, or what a relative might lend you for the weekend. The camera-work, editing and cinematography, while occasionally inventive, are far from professional. Hell, even the special effects are rudimentary (when they're not flat-out laughable).
But I kinda liked it. I didn't love it, and I'm not even really recommending it, but it's definitely the most unique and troo-kvlt horror flick I've seen in quite a while. Basically, what you have is a bifurcated storyline in which two distinct threads unfold and eventually merge. In the first, a young girl struggles to understand her relationship to her spooky parents and the creepy old house she's seemingly trapped in. In the second thread, an escaped gang of teenage rehab patients finds themselves drawn into the same spooky house. Presiding over all this is the young girl's grandfather, a mysterious figure named Reverend Salo (played, for no good reason, by The Amazing Kreskin).
The plot of this movie, however, is inconsequential. Horror is almost entirely senseless. Like Suspiria (which it resembles but can't begin to compete with), Horror cares more about building atmosphere and presenting disturbing visuals than about telling any kind of coherent story. While one might hazard a theory this way or that about why the events of the film unfold the way they do, it hardly matters. I listened to enough to DVD commentary to realize that director Danta Thomaselli's explanation is far less enlightening than what the average viewer might come up with on their own. "This is a movie that challenges all reality," he says. Uhhhhh, yeah. Take it to the man, Dante.
Again, in spite of all that, I did like this movie. Its heart is in the right place, even if it doesn't have a brain in its head. The visuals are imaginative, unsettling and clearly tied to a personal sense of what horror is all about. And, at 77 minutes, it never gets a chance to wear out its welcome.
6/10 (though I get the feeling I'm being waaaaay too generous)
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