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Film Review: Exorcist House of Evil (2016)

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SYNOPSIS:

Thrill as a woman watches local news! Gasp in awe of a man calling an adult woman sweet potato! Shriek in terror as car keys are misplaced! Several decades after an exorcism is performed on a young boy. A couple moves into the home only to find that there may be some lingering demons.

REVIEW:

Director: David Trotti
Starring: Amy Holland Pennell, Connor Trinneer, Mark Holzum

The writer and director of Exorcist House of Evil, David Trotti, really would like it to be known that this is based on a true story. He’s side-stepped having any drive to the plot of the film, instead betting everything on this being set in a house where something spooky happened 60 years ago. The exteriors at least are of the home where Robbie Manheim received an exorcism in 1949 which William Peter Blatty based his book the Exorcist. I’m guessing David Trotti is hoping that some people will be confused between the two films, only to be left very confused and disappointed after watching. Its 90-minutes built on a one note premise and populated with bad acting and worse plotting. Exorcist House of Evil features all the tension of a high-wire act 4 centimeters off the ground, and all the scares of a lamb making friends with a kitten.

It begins with the original exorcism of Robbie. It plays like the typical movie expulsion of demons from a child. Screaming, cursing, flailing, perhaps this year has made the world a little more jaded but it’s a tiresome scene. Adding to the boredom is its complete inconsequentiality to the bulk of the story considering an opening narration had already revealed what was about to happen. A case of telling and then wasting time with showing to no memorable effect.

Jumping to the modern day we are immediately introduced to the female lead, Amy, as played by Amy Holland Pennell. I don’t want to appear ungentlemanly but she contains all the actors’ intuition of a corpse. Not of an actor portraying a corpse, which requires patience and subtlety, an actual dead person who can neither say nor do anything of their own will. Her range seems to be dead eyed stillness, far more haunting then any part of the movie, to yelling when she attempts to show any human emotion. She has arrived at the house that could be any other house in the civilized world but remember this is an important and famous house.

Meeting her there are the other two leads Gordon her cousin played by Connor Trinneer and her boyfriend Luke played by Mark Holzum. These two don’t act as bizarrely as Amy but they don’t have much to do. Gordon knows about the family history and attempts to talk her out of moving into the house. Luke begins to worry she may be losing her sanity when she begins to experience supernatural events. Most of these events it should be noted coincide greatly with general things that happen in an old house like children’s coloring on the walls and drafts blowing doors closed.

Perhaps the strangest thing I found in this is the title card concerning how these are actual paranormal events being captured on film. The card even gives the William Castle gimmick of viewing them being hazardous for your health. I’m not sure why with as limited and uninteresting as this films effects are the creator of the movie would try to convince you anything in it was real. It might have been more prudent not to call attention to anything at all and allow the film to pass over you like a mild headache.

The character arcs are nonexistent and what little growth is presented in the story of this supposedly haunted house is so bogged down in confusing exposition as to be impenetrable. While moments of this balance the fine line between serious and unwitting parody there’s not enough craftsmanship to effectively present either. The best one could say of Exorcist House of Evil is that it contains not one but two exorcism scenes. If that’s all that’s required for investment in a film this is worth the time, otherwise avoid this passionately bland film.

One comment

  1. I’m going to have to assume the author of this review has never actually seen a bad movie, because this one was actually watchable. I’m also going to have to assume the author of this review has never actually seen a film that has people in it that can not act, because there are certainly a whole lot of people out there that would do a far worse job of it than Amy Holland Pennell did.

     

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