Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire

03/05/2021 06:26

Film: Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire

Year: 2019

Director: Stephen Cognetti

Writer: Stephen Cognetti

Starring: Gabriel Chytry, Elizabeth Vermilyea and Sam Kazzi



To finish out this trilogy, I watched this back-to-back with the second movie. I initial thought was that this was going to be a step down. I was wondering if we were going to get more of the same or if this one was going to do the something a bit different. The synopsis here is the Abaddon Hotel will once again be open to the public. Russell Wynn (Gabriel Chytry) has taken his audience-interactive show, Insomnia, into the abandoned hotel that is rumored to be haunted.

Getting everything up to speed, we’re 9 years after the events of the first movie and the Abaddon Hotel is set to be destroyed. It is too much of a liability and the town just wants to move on. That is until media mogul Russell steps in and purchases the hotel. There’s a bit of talk that he’s going to follow the same steps that the other group of the company Hell House LLC did and reopen this hotel for his theater troupe of Insomnia. They’re also going to be quite cheeky and put on the play Faust there also, since it is a tale of good against the Devil.

Taking over for the show Morning Mysteries is Vanessa Shepherd (Elizabeth Vermilyea). From the sounds, the previous host went missing and Vanessa really doesn’t want to do this piece on the Abaddon Hotel. She is convinced though by her producers and comes to the hotel. There she does her opening bit and meets with Jeff Stone (Sam Kazzi). I didn’t realize this until much later on, but he’s the CFO of Wynn’s company. The two go inside and the ground rules are laid.

Vanessa is given full access to film everything. This makes sense as this is partially what made Russell the success that he is for the concepts he’s come up with for his shows. We get to meet the actors. Gregory Sandvick (Leo DeFriend) is the lead in the play and the other actors aren’t the nicest to him. There’s also Max (Jordan Kaplan), who is playing the Devil. The other one that is important here is Jane Maloney (Bridgid Abrams). They are all given cameras to document things around them and this leads to some interesting footage as we go on as they prank each other.

Things seem to be going just fine in the hotel, but the longer they stay there, the weirder it becomes. There are rules set up that no one is to walk around inside after they wrap for the day and if they must, they need to do the buddy system. We see that Jane goes into the basement and is spooked by the clowns left down there from the original Hell House LLC group. There are some other things that are caught on video throughout and not everyone seems to notice.

As the opening of the show approaches, Vanessa is looking into everything here. The more that she discovers, the more she thinks it is a bad idea for this show to go on. She tries to convince Russell and Jeff, but to no avail. She even seeks out a local priest of Father Paulis (Dan Dobransky). All the while, we keep seeing things that aren’t always seen by characters. If you’ve seen the previous film, you know what the plan of Andrew Tully (Brian David Tracy) is and then it becomes, does Russell know or is his plans just another victim of the Abaddon Hotel?

That’s where I want to leave my recap of the movie. Where I want to start is that I find this interesting that we have the same writer and director for all three of these movies. I did see trivia that this was originally conceived as being a trilogy. I think what works here is that the first movie was really good, which helps to get this the previous one made. What I also like is that it sounds like for the most part, the idea of where to start and end this were planned from the beginning and not just tacking the movies on like some franchises do as the money comes in.

Going along this idea, Russell isn’t really shown from what I remember in the previous movie, but his name was brought up in the beginning. He is the head of the Wynn Group that has been getting the footage. I’m assuming they are the ones that have put out both movies as well being behind the text we are getting at the beginning. This is interesting as that makes Russell an expert on this place. We get to see a bit more of that as this goes on which I like. Much like the previous movie, they’re continuing to build on the mythology. I don’t think this one does as well in this department. This movie is wrapping up the story; I’m just not the biggest fan where it goes if I’m going to be honest.

I do like that this movie is set mostly back in the Abaddon Hotel. That was part of my problem with the previous movie as that was the strongest part here. We get a bit of the scares like we do in the other two movies, but I’ll be honest, this one wasn’t nearly as effective with it. What I think hurts this movie is that it tries so hard to make sure you know certain things that you are seeing either correlate back to the other two movies or they want to edit in footage to show something that happened in that specific one. I think this does bog the movie down a bit as it isn’t original. It makes it feel partially like a clip show by doing that. I don’t want you to think this one doesn’t have a story though, that isn’t what I’m getting at. It just tries too hard to make sure you’re up to speed. This could also be that I watched the previous movie and this one within a day of each other as well.

Since I’ve briefly went over how it was edited, I’ll move over to the effects. Once again, this movie does well with its practical effects. I like the subtle things that we get with props that are supposed to not be alive moving around, especially statues and the clowns. They do a bit with making ghosts look creepy with contacts. The blood that we get looks good and most of this works. What doesn’t is the digital messing up of the camera to show previous footage or that an entity is near. They do this much more than the previous and I’m not a fan there. There is also some really bad CGI in the end of the movie that took me out of what they were trying to do. To end this section on a positive, I think the found footage adds an element here even though it doesn’t work as well for this movie as the previous two.

The last thing that I want to go over would be the acting. I think that everyone we get here is believable for a movie like this. Something I normally say for found footage is that if they can act natural, then it works. Chytry seems like this rich guy who is used to getting his way, but he’s not a jerk about it. I like Vermilyea taking over as the host as she’s stronger in her performance than the previous actress. Kazzi is good as well. I think the rest of the actors in the play are good and bringing back a bunch of characters from the first and second movie works for me to wrap up this trilogy as well.

In conclusion, this movie is unfortunately the weakest of the three. I think that it has a better set up and for what they were going for from the previous one, but this one is a bit too concerned with making sure you understand everything that they’re wrapping up. I still like some of the story elements they have going here. The climax works and the acting is solid in bringing these characters to life. The practical effects are also good while the CGI just really hurt the movie for me. I also think that the soundtrack and design there work well with building tension when needed. Overall though, I’d say this movie is above average for me though. It does enough to keep me engaged, but falls short of what they’re going for story-wise.


My Rating: 6 out of 10