Ed and Susan appear to be a normal loving couple, however, they are far from it. They are snuff filmmakers and want to make the first ever triple feature; Three victims, three kills, all in one night. In order to provide their fans with everything you’d get on a straight DVD, they have rigged their entire house with cameras and audio for your viewing pleasure. Ed’s plan slowly unravels and it all is captured on tape.
From the people who brought you Zombie Strippers! and Alyce Kills (co-directors Jay Lee and Jim Roof), The House with 100 Eyes is a horror/thriller about a husband and wife duo that just wants to make a ground-breaking movie – their first triple feature. They’ve wired their entire house with cameras and microphones, as well as the various hand held units they have all set up and ready to go, and now they just need to find their victims, er, um, movie stars. For, as we get from the intro, this movie is the edited together culmination of a bunch of videotapes that were dropped off anonymously at the director’s doorstep. While the police may have brushed it all off as a hoax, the director is certain that what we are watching is the creation of a snuff film. Well, at least that’s what is all typed across the screen at the very start of the movie.
The House with 100 Eyes is set up in the very definition of the “found footage” films, with the story unfolding on film that was literally found left outside a front door. The directors do their best to ugly it up at times, trying to make it look like it’s really just that – occasional garbled sound, sloppy edits, and off camera bickering helps us get into the “reality” feel of the movie. And for the most part, it’s done fairly convincingly. I mean, there would never be any mistaking this for being real (not as realistic looking as the impaled girl in Cannibal Holocaust or the Guinea Pig fiasco, and not as much pre-release hype as The Blair Witch Project), but Lee and Roof do a competent job to draw the audience in as far as we can go.
The filmmaking, murder-loving couple, Ed and Susan (played by co-director Jim Roof and Shannon Malone, respectively), are great as the bickering, deranged husband and wife team. At times they are the “perfect” suburban couple, lovey-dovey and finishing each other thoughts. When Ed sets up a “confessional” shot, one on one with the camera, and explains how his wife may or may not have poisoned her ex-husband, we see there might be more than a little distrust brewing, something that comes back around full force later in the film in somewhat unexpected ways.
But then, just like that, they are a perfect team again, working together and picking up some random kids from “skid row” that they assume have no one to miss them and promising good money if they’ll film a dirty movie with them. The three kids, Crystal (Liz Burghdorf), Jamie (Larissa Lynch), and rockstar-wannabe Clutch (Andrew Hopper), are decent enough, with Jamie the only real stand out as far as acting or character – the other two could have been replaced with little to no effect on the final results.
Lee and Roof’s film reminds me a bit of Bernard Rose’s Snuff-Movie, but with more likable characters and a better overall premise. I think where this one wins is in its quirky little bits – when you meet “Maddie Mouth,” played by Lauren Lakis, you’ll see what I mean. The blood and gore is pretty well done in here, as you would hope/expect from a movie specifically about killing people. There’s some torture, some fisticuffs, some gunshots and some needles, as well as some sadistic images on Ed’s television screen. In sharp contrast, and perhaps showing where we as a society have things quite backwards, there is no nudity, instead blurring out the “dirty” body parts. Heads blown open, a-okay, but a glimpse of a nude bottom is definitely off limits – I can’t say I understand that logic, but it’s the reality of the film, so deal with it.
There are a lot of movies dealing with snuff films, finding snuff films, hunting down snuff films, or the making of snuff films. Let’s face it, snuff films are a taboo that has yet to be weakened, making them perfect fodder for the horror movie world. The House with 100 Eyes is one of the better horror movies I’ve seen dealing with the subject. Some of it is predictable, but we get some good performances, a little bit of a new twist on an old subject, and a pretty tension-filled finale that leaves us rewinding the last minute or so to try and know for sure what just happened. If you’re into the snuff thing, and you get the chance, give this one a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.