house | robby henson | rob green | reynaldo rosales | heidi dippold | michael madsen | based on | novel | ted dekker | frank peretti | united states | julie ann emery | j.p. davis | lew temple | leslie easterbrook | bill moseley | pawel delag | weronika rosati
Director: Robby Henson
Writer: Rob Green
Starring: Reynaldo Rosales, Heidi Dippold and Michael Madsen
This was a movie I’m not entire sure how I got turned on to. It was on my Netflix list and then I finally decided to give it a go when it came in the mail. I’m sure I added this back when it was released and it had been sitting there for close to a decade before finally getting it as well. I came in pretty blind as well. The synopsis is in rural Alabama, two couples find themselves in a fight for survival. Running from a maniac named The Tin Man, bent on killing them. They flee deep into the woods and seek refuge in a house.
Now this isn’t the greatest synopsis as this isn’t necessarily how the events play out. We get images that were in a hotel. Where we have a couple, played by Pawel Delag and Weronika Rosati, where she is terrified and trying to hide. We do learn that they’re married. There’s a tin can near by with writing on it and the man produces a gun. It then gives us a view of the house from the outside and it’s pretty large.
It then shifts to Jack Singelton (Reynaldo Rosales) who is in the car with his wife Stephanie (Heidi Dippold). We learn later that he’s a thriller writer and she’s an aspiring singer. We see though that things are tense between them. He’s driving a bit fast and she is bothered by it. A cop comes up behind them and speeds past, but not before making them uneasy. While he’s not paying attention, he almost rear-ends the car as there’s been an accident. There’s a cone stuck under his tire and he gets out. The officer is Michael Madsen and he wants to see Jack’s license. He produces it and Stephanie turns on the charm. They’re let off with a warning and sent on their way.
The couple is on their way to a marriage counseling session. They do have a decision to make though. Head on to Birmingham or take the route that Madsen gave them to make it back to the highway. They take the latter and then run over some old farm equipment, puncturing two of their tires. It starts to rain so they head to a nearby house, which turns out to be the one from the beginning.
It is there they first think it is abandoned. They check the register to find another couple’s name from that day. They then appear as their names are Leslie Taylor (Julie Ann Emery) and Randy Messarue (J.P. Davis). She’s a graduate student at Auburn in psychology and he buys old small time hotels to renovate. They look around and the power goes out. As they’re trying to find the basement, they finally encounter the proprietors. It is Betty (Leslie Easterbrook), her son Pete (Lew Temple) and Stewart (Bill Moseley). Stewart is quite rude to everyone while Pete takes a liking to Leslie.
Things over dinner get a bit weird and the couples try to get through the night. It takes a turn though when someone named The Tin Man shows up. The house is locked up to prevent him from getting in and anyone from getting out. The man they’re trying to keep out gives his rules. They’re three of them. They’re that he killed God, he will kill anyone in his house and the only way he’ll let the second slide is if there’s a body given to him by sunrise. The couples are then faced with traumas from their past and things in this house aren’t as they seem.
Since I didn’t know a whole lot about what I was getting into, I came in blind and to just preface this, I actually kind of dug this movie. I think the movie does well in establishing these characters, but then giving us the back-story as to why they’re the way they are. I think a part of this is that is based off a novel by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti. I’ve never heard of it, but I almost think benefits from having a deeper story that is presenting. The depth of the characters for their motivations worked for me.
Going along with this, there are some interesting aspects that get revealed throughout this about where they are as well. Not all of it worked, but it isn’t often that you get a movie where it does. I will admit that I predicted how this would end with about 30 minutes left or so. I’m not bothered by this as I figured it out through a room they’re in and a couple of lines that are dropped. I actually like where it goes. I will reveal it here as it is spoiler, so I will have a section at the end for that.
I would say that it is paced in a way where I never got bored either. The movie has a runtime of 88 minutes I think that’s perfect. Anything longer I think it would start to get repetitive. It balances everything between learning the back-story of these 4 characters. I was going to complain while watching it that we don’t learn enough about the house, but the name of it and how things play out explains enough for me. I don’t necessarily like all aspects of the ending, but I’m fine with what they’re going for.
That will shift me over the acting. I thought that Rosales and Dippold are solid as our two stars. They play off each other well and I like that at first we really get that they’re a broken married couple. Things seem like they can’t be fixed and they’re going through the motions. As they’re dealing with the trauma of something in their past, I like the changes in their characters. Much in the same way is Emery and Davis. As you see what happens with them though, it is some what of the opposite that fits their character. I thought it was great having the strong actors of Madsen, Temple, Easterbrook and Moseley as the supporting cast. The rest rounded this out for what was needed as well. The only thing that I would say that is problematic is that this takes in Alabama and no one’s accents really seem to fit that. I can get that not everyone could be from here, but some most definitely are it doesn’t really sound like it.
As for the effects, there’s actually not a lot from what I can remember. What I do know is there is a quite a bit of CGI smoke. I wasn’t actually bothered by it if I’m honest. There was something during the ending that I didn’t like as I said above and part of it is the effects that were accompanying it. This goes for most of that sequence as well. I would say that other than that, the cinematography was solid and had no issues there.
Now with that said, this is a surprising movie that I haven’t heard anything about. It really doesn’t introduce anything overly new, but how it is given to us is fine. I like the back-story and how the characters are developed around them. The progression as they’re faced with things in this house really does help. I think the title of the movie is a negative against it with the more classic movie of the same name. The acting is solid and there’s not a lot in the way of effects. I do think aside from what we get during the ending sequence are fine. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out, but it also doesn’t hurt the movie. Overall I’d say this is a slight above average for me and would recommend giving it a viewing to see what you think.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10
As these couples are looking through the house, they’re faced with things from their past. The issues with Jack and Stephanie are that they had a daughter by the name of Melissa (Florentyna Synowiecka). She drowned in a pond by their house as Jack was writing and Stephanie was on the phone. They blame each other for different reasons with this tragedy. Leslie was molested by her uncle and ended up killing him. She has attachment issues with men and Randy isn’t the nicest to her. Years of therapy hasn’t necessarily helped. Randy had a father that was hard on him and he ended up shooting him while hunting. This house though has a secret in the basement where there’s an upside down pentagram and satanic symbols. This turns out to be purgatory though. There was a car accident between the two couples, so they need to figure out the traumas that put them here before they can return to their body where The Tin Man who is actually Madsen, wants them to fail. I’m assuming this makes me a demon of sorts that is testing them. If you fail, you stay if not, you can return to your Earthly bound body. Like I said, this has been done before, but I didn’t mind how they presented this.