*Major spoilers follow…
Completing Roadside Attractions’ HOUSE was physically draining, which is something a viewer should never have to endure when in theaters. The adaptation of the novel by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker is preachy, whiney and painfully cliché.
In the film Jack (Reynaldo Rosales) and Stephanie (Heidi Dippold) become stranded at the Wayside Inn where they meet another couple who also had some “car issues”. Immediately the family who own the inn (Bill Moseley and Leslie Easterbrook) get pushy and pull out their creepy cards. The “dinner table scene” is uncomfortable and leads us to believe our hosts are a little off their rockers. After a little altercation, Stephanie storms out of the dining room only to be stopped at the front door by a killer known as “The Tin Man”. The killer eventually gets his message into the house via a tin can:
1. God came into my house and I killed him.
2. I will kill anyone who comes to my house
like I killed God.
3. Bring me one dead body and I might let
rule #2 slide.
Immediately following, weird things begin to happen and our stranded couples are confronted with their own personal demons. This little horror film becomes a tale of redemption and letting go of sin (sigh). While the couples have visions of their tormented past, they also are fighting to stay away from the demonic family who possess the Wayside Inn. The demons are trying to force the couples to kill each other, to accept the rules posted on the tin can.
Cue pale stupid girl, who is attempting to help the couples make the “right decision”. She explains to them that they don’t have to kill each other, they don’t have to follow the rules and can defeat the Tin Man. How can they defeat him? Well, light kills darkness. Did you know that?! Following a few corny twists, our Tin Man is revealed and kills our ghostly girl ally. Then guess what happens? The light explodes killing the dark! Talk about a total cop out, unless your only goal is to tell the audience that light always beats dark, even if it makes no sense. But wait, there’s more! When Jack and Stephanie exit the Wayside Inn after watching someone else defeat the Tin Man, they arrive back at their cars to discover that they’ve been blown up… and that they’re dead. They were in the middle plain the whole time fighting for their lives!
If I hadn’t seen this in REEKER, DEAD END and about 600 other movies it might have been interesting, but the fact of the matter is this was a bland, tasteless, generic horror film only constructed to teach us a lesson about living our lives without sin and making the right decisions. I go to see movies to be entertained – not to be told what do to or how to live my life. Maybe if the message had been covered by with a unique plot and wasn’t slammed in my face I could have handled it… but no, probably not.
Beyond the story that didn’t make a lick of sense, the acting was astoundingly horrid (with the exception of the always fantastic Bill Moseley) and the directing was so safely done that every shot was laid out like a made-for-TV movie. There’s not a single thing that can be recommended in this film and it’s suggested you avoid it at all costs – even on DVD.
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