Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,
Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “The Happy House” concerns a quarreling couple taking a trip to a proudly puritanical bed and breakfast. Muffins, murder, and lepidoptery lay waste to the weekend.
Horror fans have seen this setup before, but there are a few surprises in store as the writers subvert some of our expectations leading to some amusing situations. The standout character is that of Hildie and Marceline Hugo pulls it off with such glee that what could have come off as cliché became one of the more interesting roles to play. Each part is well rounded and the story remains grounded so it was easy to relate to the character’s plight when things take a turn towards fright.
While the first act is set up and intends to make us laugh, the tension kicks in during the second half when our killer stands fully exposed with a picket fence smile that is eerily composed. As the proceedings become stark we are occasionally plunged into the dark and the only salvation is candlelight which barely illuminates their fateful night. The fact that they did not utilize it as a simple gimmick, but followed through with the whole trick created a stifling atmosphere that was ripe for causing fear. To be honest the scares are very sparse as the situation is played mostly for farce so this proves to be a pleasant treat for those who hate jumping out of their seat.
I was a little disappointed that this film felt so disjointed as it occasionally came off as a collection of skits with some of them duds while others are hits. A scene often ends with a fade to black and then when they decide to come back we are usually on a completely different scene with little explanation of what happened between. Not all of the jokes follow through so the most memorable ones are those that do and I almost did not bring this up in the first place since my favorite joke is during the final chase. This moment alone justifies all the rest and shows this movie at its best as it creates an ending I found very unique then wisely retires at its peak.
Nightshade’s Notions (extra credit): 1
In conclusion, this is hardly likely to cause much fright so it is good for those who want something light.
Stick to the shadows my fine friends.
Mr. William Nightshade