House Of Fears (2007) UK Straight To DVD
Why did I pick this movie? Clowns. Evil clowns. I have a couple friends who are scared silly by 'em (and to be honest I hate them too). Is there anybody who actually likes clowns? I mean really, anyone over, say, three years old? That's not all that's in here of course. This feel-good movie (heavy sarcasm) is your typical fare of getting some teenagers together you don't like and slaughtering them one by one. Just like every other movie. A little twist (not an original one, but a twist) - they're in a haunted house. No, not your banging sounds and objects moving kind, the kind people put together and charge money to try to scare the crap out of you. And usually failing badly.
The story starts in Africa at an excavation site where a woman is there to collect relics. By the time she and her guide get there however, all the workers have been brutally murdered. She doesn't see that, he does and says they have to leave. She finds a broken statue and asks if she can have it - he gives it to her.
Now we're supposed to be in Salem, Oregon. Okay, now I'm wincing. Oregon is famous usually for the nuthouses - I'm sorry I mean psychiatric hospitals, featured in such famous films as One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, not haunted houses. So I checked to see if our Salem actually has one of these (since this movie obviously was not filmed there). By gum it sure does. In fact, The Nightmare Factory boasts that this is its 20th anniversary of operation. Proceeds benefit the Oregon School For The Deaf, so for the first and only time, I'm going to provide the link to their page just for their sake: http://www.nightmarefactorysalem.com/ . Even if you are nowhere near Oregon, check out their website, it's for a good cause. Other than that, Salem boasts of many supposedly haunted spots - buildings, grave sites, you name it. Huh - never see any of that whenever I go to Salem.
But this is about a spook house named The House Of Fears. And of course we have the usual group of teenagers, Zane, Candice, Carter, Devon, Hailey and Samantha, both likable and not. Hailey is Samantha's step-sister, to whom she is storybook bitchy to. They have sneaked out of a party because one of the group works there and has the keys to the place, so they're going to have a private showing. It's a great looking building - it doesn't say where or what building is used, but it looks pretty cool. Inside it's a maze of rooms for the public and corridors for the workers. Apparently, the broken statue brought home by the woman in Africa (who happens to own the place) pieced itself back together and has already caused the security guard's dog to attack him - his greatest fear I guess. Because supposedly this is what the statue does - bring your greatest fears to life.
Zane, the keeper of the keys, lists off nine fears that are supposedly the main ones: Death, ghosts, monsters, the dark, clowns, bats, spiders, losing your mind (too late for me) and sharp knives. Uh, this must be mostly for kids - not much of that list moves me much. And the movie stalls, as most often do, because nobody gets killed for an interminable period of time. I'm not bloodthirsty, I just know that when they get killed, the movie will end and you can go home (or to bed, depending where you are). The thrills are not there, the scenarios aren't scary, but these teenagers are movie-stupid and each admits what scares them the most. NEVER DO THAT. It should be another written rule in horror movies.
FINALLY the cursed statue of fear kicks in, and Zane is killed by a dummy. A dummy. A dummy that cannot hold still to save its life. I love those - watched a wax museum movie recently where the figures were fake and they shook like they had palsy. Same here. But it moves and since he'd put a weapon in its hands, that's how he was killed. Was that what he was afraid of? Do we care? We still have five to go... Next is Candice, trapped in a mummy's tomb where sand somehow pours into the room, smothering her (and going down the drain just as magically) - she of course was afraid of that. Samantha knows what she's scared of but won't say - but it follows them anyway. A scarecrow. Something about childhood trauma of how she lost her father blah blah... for being her fear it's just as lethal to the rest and kills Carter by electrocution. Devon is brought down by the aforementioned evil clowns, apparently he had a bad birthday party somewhere back in time because he was scared silly by them.
Inexplicably Hailey is nailed in a coffin and it's up to Samantha to save her. They race for an alternate exit, with the scarecrow right on their tail. We have to endure quite a bit of this, the ending is almost more tortuous to us than them. Finally as the scarecrow has Samantha by the throat and she somehow has the statue in her hand she says 'I am not afraid of you,' and drops the statue which busts. And the scarecrow is nothing but cloth and straw again.
Hailey and Samantha exit the building holding on to each other, a touching 'we're best buds for life now' moment as they go home and try to explain just what the hell happened. The last scene shows the statue starting to move - it's reassembling itself again. Oh God, please no sequels. At least not in Oregon (I mean the UK).