25 October 2016

31 Days of Horror Day 25 House of Purgatory 2016 - REVIEW

We've all heard the stories about those haunted houses where you get your money back if you make it through the entire thing. The one that I've heard the most about is called The 13th Floor and while there IS a haunted house in San Antonio with that name, you do not get your money back if you complete the tour. I myself have never been to one and I don't know anybody else who has either. I have a hard time believing that there is one anywhere that is so scary, they make the majority of their money off of people who can't make it through. But alas, this is how legends are formed.

It's a story that has existed throughout the Midwest for years - a haunted attraction that repays a portion of the admittance fee for every floor patrons are brave enough to complete. The haunted house is supposedly so terrifying, however, that nobody has ever made it all the way through to the end. On Halloween night, four Wisconsin teenagers go looking for this supposed urban legend. What they find is the House of Purgatory - the source of all the stories. Once inside the house, the teens quickly realize the house is more than a mere haunted attraction. The house somehow knows the things each of the kids keep hidden, and forces each of them to come face to face with the secrets they keep.

One thing the film has going for it is an outstanding cast. Anne LeightonLaura CooverBrad FryAaron Galvin and an unrecognizable Brian Krause do a great job of bringing their characters to life. Unfortunately, first time director Tyler Christensen made the decision to portray the characters as high school students which this particular cast can't pull off. No, I not bashing their ages so before someone starts with the blah, blah, blah, I'm simply pointing out that they are not believable as high school students. Aside from that, the film has a solid cast. Also, the first half hour of the movie focuses on building the characters of three of girls but when it comes time to head to the haunted house, two of the girls stay behind and three new characters come in. Personally I think that first thirty minutes would've been better spent focusing on the characters that would actually be the focal point of the film.

The film has an interesting premise, It doesn't go the usual haunted house slasher movie route but more like a thriller that takes a glimpse into a hell of your own making. I mean that's kind of what purgatory is, right? Once the film finds it's footing, it holds up rather well. The sets inside the haunted house are very well done and the coloring gives it the perfect haunted house vibe. Without going into too much detail (no spoilers), I will say that I took a bit of an issue with some of the "hell of your own making" storylines. However, House of Purgatory, while not incredibly original, is a good watch and manages to tell a well rounded story in it's short 75 minute run time.

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