While Hell House LLC is part found footage it’s not strict about following this path, which is a good thing. So whether you love or hate found footage, you should enjoy this one!
It’s too bad that Hell House LLC wasn’t out in time for Halloween. It would definitely have added to the tension for anyone going to a “haunted house”-tour on Halloween. In fact, I think even going to The Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios would’ve been creepier after watching Hell House LLC.
You may already have guessed from the above that the creepy parts of Hell House LLC worked really well for me. Sure, I’m the resident ScreamQueen, but still, some things just get under my skin more than others.
For this movie, I loved the fact that it’s part documentary style. A group of friends is doing their annual Halloween Haunted House experience, which is a serious business and source of income. Hence the “LLC” part of the title, which stands for “Limited Liability Company”.
Basically, while they’re having fun with it, this is also “just” a job. Albeit a somewhat different job than most people have.
Hell House LLC uses the classic tricks, but it works
It’s not that there’s anything insanely innovative about Hell House LLC. In fact, you feel like you’re getting a peek backstage at a pretty conventional haunted house. But to me, this is exactly what works so well. It’s like a magician showing you how the tricks work, and then the real magic happens.
The creepy and scary elements are wonderfully simple. It’s nothing crazy elaborate, but more of the sneaky kind. You know, the kinds where someone is suddenly standing in the hallway. Then they disappear only to reappear again. Oh yeah, and was it a mannequin or a person? Or maybe a prank from one of the guys? Nobody knows for sure, including the audience.
The movie works because the cast works
Because Hell House isn’t hung up on effects, the story needs to be carried forward by the characters. This means the cast needs to be on point and I’m very happy to say that they all do amazing work.
Sometimes the documentary-style found footage seems forced or a bit off-beat. Not this one! You have no problem believing the friendship – or the issues – between these people. There’s the goofy slacker, who tries to be good, but no one really notices when he is. Also, he’s the group prankster, so obviously they blame him for all the strange little things. I would too.
Well, maybe not quite as much after having watched Hell House. See, horror movies always teach us important life lessons, so we can be ready for the crazy stuff.
Stephen Cognetti wrote and directed Hell House LLC. This is his feature film debut on both counts, which I was surprised to see. Previously, Stephen Cognetti has written and directed three short films, which no doubt is the reason why this debut works so well.
For me, the only weak point was the pace and length. It’s nothing that ruins the overall experience of enjoying this horror movie, though. It’s simply the reason why we’re not quite reaching that 4-star mark. But it was damn close!
Hell House LLC is available on digital platforms such as Amazon Instant, YouTube, VUDU, Vimeo On Demand, Google Play, iTunes, and various consoles. It was released on November 1, 2016.
Director: Stephen Cognetti
Writer: Stephen Cognetti
Cast: Gore Abrams, Alice Bahlke, Danny Bellini
Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour. A documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.