A group of college students decide to check out an old abandoned insane asylum where a number of horrible events took place many years ago. Unfortunately while they are there a few of them get possessed after accidentally inhaling the ashes of some the patients who were cremated there and it isn’t long before one of them starts picking off members of the student body around campus.
Over the last couple of years I’ve seen my share of films about ghosts. The biggest majority of them have involved a group of people (usually paranormal investigators) exploring some sort of place that is supposed to be haunted (ordinarily a hospital of some sort) and then regretting their decision when they are attacked by the vengeful spirits that reside there. That’s essentially the gist of House of Dust. While some of these movies have been excellent others have been quite terrible and nearly unwatchable. I think that this film falls somewhere in the middle (probably a lot closer to the latter category if I had to pick one unfortunately). It wasn’t the worst movie of its kind that I’ve ever seen but at the same time I don’t think that I’ll be in a big hurry to revisit it again anytime soon.
One of the biggest problems that I had with House of Dust (I keep wanting to call it House of Ash as it is a much more fitting title if you ask me) is that it suffers from a major lack of originality. While I dug the idea behind how the people end up getting possessed and gradually take on the characteristics of the spirit inhabiting their bodies that is as about as original as the film gets. I thought that it had a huge “been there, done that” feel to it overall and I just felt like I’d already seen it all before a number of times. I’ve seen many, many movies with basically the same premise and I don’t think that this film really did anything that amazingly different that makes it stand out from the crowd. A lot of what takes place in the movie feels really recycled from a lot of other movies and I think that the majority of people who watch it will feel the same way.
I also felt like the movie was a little too long which is weird as it only runs the usual 90 minutes (but for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on it seemed a lot longer). It tended to drag quite a bit from time-to-time and I couldn’t help but feel the urge to fast forward a little bit at certain points. We get way too many scenes where nothing really worth mentioning happens and I think that they could have been trimmed or taken out completely just so the pace flowed a little smoother (and quicker). It takes forever for anything exciting to happen after the characters get possessed and even when they do start to show signs that they are fully possessed (which takes forever) they really don’t do anything that amazing or interesting. Hell, people don’t even start dying until halfway into the movie and to be honest I was at the point that I had already lost interest and didn’t really care anymore anyway. For a movie about ghostly possession there are hardly any scares and way too much lag time for anyone who suffers from a short attention span like I do.
I also feel like I need to mention the ending as well as it seemed pretty rushed and uneventful for the most part. To me it felt like the people who worked on the script (and there were four of them!) just gave up at the end and threw the last ten minutes of the film together at the last minute with no real effort or thought behind it. There is really no big epic confrontation at the end and as a result I couldn’t help but feel extremely underwhelmed. I was expecting something major to take place at the end that would blow me away (and make up for the rest of the film) but it wasn’t to be and instead of ending with a bang we get a slight whimper that was hardly worth my time (and don’t even get me started on the very last scene which is as cornball and unoriginal as they come).
The film’s only real saving grace is its cast. Inbar Lavi really shines as Emma and I couldn’t help but root for her as she struggled with her own problems (which are never really explained) and tried to figure out what is going on so she could save her friends. I also thought that Steven Grayhm did a great job as likable nice guy (and love interest for Emma) Kolt and Holland Roden was top-notch as Emma’s kind and caring roommate Gabby. Eddie Hassell was also impressive as Dylan and I enjoyed watching him change from a fun skater/party guy to a nervous and uncomfortable nerd who suffered from extreme OCD after he becomes possessed (to the point that he cleans the carpet over and over again and freaks out when his Skittles-which he has categorized by color-get knocked in the floor and he has to organize them all over again). Without a doubt the movie’s biggest strength is its cast and one of the only reasons that I enjoyed it.
I just wasn’t that into House of Dust. It was slow, boring at times, and just felt like it was missing something in general. It didn’t bring anything new to the table and was just lackluster and forgettable overall if you ask me. Check it out if it sounds like something that you would be into, but make sure that you to into it with your expectations in check if you plan on enjoying it.