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
Okay, I first want to state that I had seen Dante's first effort "Desecration" and thought that it sucked. Of course it didn't totally suck, but it fails on the same level that "Horror" failed on - its beautiful crap.
I really wanted to love both films after hearing that this filmmaker was a Godsend to horror fanatics everywhere so me being the huge horror fan I am was excited. My excitement was lessened after seeing "Desecration," and even more so after "Horror." "Horror" has so many flaws it would be impossible to name them all off, but I'll try. At the beginning of the film the audience is introduced to a group of stoners escaping rehab and venture off to Rev. Salo's house of horror, unaware that horror is what awaits them. Then one kid turns blue, pukes, and then never seen of heard from again after the camera cuts as all the blue guy's friends are trying to help him! What the hell? We as an audience are introduced to a character only to forget about? Why was he there in the first place? Dumb.
The editing is also done poorly. We as an audience haven't the slightest clue as to what the hell is happening - usually that would be effective, but in order for it to be effective the audience must feel for the characters, so it didn't help too much that the actors were on and off but mostly off and the delivery of the dialogue is bad... maybe because the dialogue given was god-awful. So, in terms of the effective "what the hell is going on?" scenario, I really couldn't care less.
It doesn't help when the ending makes no sense and is cheesy as hell.
Oddly, the set design and cinematography are unbelievably gorgeous, and the camera-work is terrific. The landscape of a snowy wilderness is both haunting and beautifully Gothic. The use of Christmas lights and ornaments is the perfect contrast to the eerie going-ons (I will admit, some of the more macabre moments are deliciously effective, just most are just plain stupid) and the lonesome, haunted look of some of the homes. The use of the POV shots, ala "The Evil Dead," are very cool and the goat is creepy. More of the goat would have been more than welcome.
Sadly, overall "Horror" was just a perfect example of what we all hate in the genre some of us hold dear. I have noticed a lot of people, as well as critics, have loved this movie and admired its strangeness, but as much I love horror and generally strange surreal rides, I couldn't like this movie. It's still worth a look for its look, but (at least for me) there is nothing else beneath its beautiful, Gothic surface.
Hopefully Dante's next effort "Satan's Playground" will be more of a departure of what "Desecration" and "Horror" were: beautiful trash.
3 out of 10
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