The Charnel House took us by surprise. It has an original story and some truly stellar acting!

I’ll admit that when The Charnel House first started, I wasn’t hooked. There was something a bit too low-budget about the acting, and I was getting ready for a pretty mediocre experience. However, that very quickly changed and instead I ended up having a surprisingly good experience. The story was intriguing and the acting made the movie extraordinarily memorable.

For the record, the change came with a time jump – the story moves 30 years ahead in time – but I also felt certain actors grew with the movie. Especially Danielle Lauder (The Stanford Prison Experiment). When she was first on screen, I felt she was flat and seemed off somehow. But again, as soon as we get a bit more backstory and she has something to act with, she grew with the story and I ended up loving the character.

I’m not sure what the budget for The Charnel House was, but there are some elements that make it seem like it wasn’t the highest budget. Not to fear though. I’m only basing this on a few of the special effects that I’ve seen done better. It’s not something that interferes with the story. It just doesn’t enhance it either, which is a shame.

The story is pretty simple and sure, we may have seen some variations of it before. Still, I don’t feel like I’ve ever watched this particular version of it before, so to me, The Charnel House was an original and very well-told story.

The acting made this movie for me

You should never think about the acting in a movie. When things work, it’s all a perfect flow where you just allow yourself to be immersed in the story. However, there is one big exception for me, and that’s when the acting is so damn good that it takes your breath away for a second. For me, this was Callum Blue (Dead Like Me) in The Charnel House. Maybe it’s especially noticeable because I felt the acting was off at the beginning of this film. Still, he was so extremely good that I have to mention him.

Nadine Velazquez and Callum Blue in The Charnel House 2016

He doesn’t miss a beat and his interaction with both Nadine Velazquez (Flight), who plays his wife, and Makenzie Moss (Steve Jobs), who plays his daughter, was always spot on. Obviously, I also give credit to both Velazquez and Moss for this. The little family just seemed very natural and organic, and it’s important for the story that we care about these people in particular.

Also, I should mention Erik LaRay Harvey (Luke Cage)who helps us all understand what’s going on. He was a storyteller for both us and the other characters and worked perfectly as such. Also, you’ll see another familiar Netflix face in The Charnel House with Joe Keery from Stranger Things. However, he has more of a “blink and you miss him”-role.

Craig Moss directed The Charnel House and while I’m not familiar with his previous work, I’ll gladly admit I’m very intrigued now. Especially since he’s made a lot of spoof movies, which tend to combine classic horror titles with bad humor. I mean, with a title like 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo you’ve got my attention!

The script was written by Emanuel Isler and Chad Israel and it’s the feature film debut for both of them as screenwriters.

The Charnel House will be out in US limited release and on VOD from November 4, 2016.


Director: Craig Moss
Writer: Emanuel Isler, Chad Israel
Cast: Callum Blue, Nadine Velazquez, Erik LaRay Harvey, Andy Favreau, Danielle Lauder, Makenzie Moss, Joe Keery


A long abandoned slaughterhouse is transformed into modern lofts in a re-gentrified urban neighborhood. Soon after tenants move in they are tormented by a dark secret that has been trapped in the building for over 30 years.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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