Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the horror feature A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME by director Christopher Gray. To best describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:
"A troubled married couple decide to start their family's life anew in a dream house with a dark history."
One of the main positive things of this film is the good performances. The actors felt like a real family unit and weaved enough into their roles to make their characters seem dynamic. Even some of the clunky dialogue worked thanks to the fact that the actors sold their parts well enough to make them seem realistic.
To me, the major issues was the plot just never gelled. There were a lot of good ideas presented, but not enough fleshing out to explain what exactly was happening. In fact, as things went along the motivations become more confusing as the house seemed to be unable to decide whether or not it wanted to kill the members of the family. The lack of logic to these moments made it hard to swallow the inconsistent mythology.
Speaking of lore, their use of voodoo to try to get ride of the demons in the house was a nice, original touch. In this day and age we have become so used to seeing Catholicism used to deal with exorcisms or haunted houses that rarely do we get to see alternative methods of taking on evil. This was one of the best features of this picture as it was incredibly distinctive and Eddie Steeples did a bang up job of portraying the voodoo priest.
From a production standpoint the second half of this movie featured a seemingly mazelike journey through the haunted house. This was effective, disorienting, and tense as we could never tell exactly when something was going to pop out. While these scenes might have showed off some of the story issues, they still proved to be some of the strongest moments in the entire picture as they kept the sense of dread high.
All in all, though it may not always be a completely logical feature, the acting and second half are pretty good. I enjoyed the weaving in of voodoo mythology during the second half while the parts showing the mazelike aspects of the house were also properly disorienting. Fans of The Amityville Horror (1979) and Event Horizon (1997) will find some similar ideas at play in this film.
The Creeping Craig