28th Apr2013

‘The Wrong House’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Marc Singer, Art LaFleur, Hayley DuMond, Janey Gioiosa, Paul McGill, Rebekah Kennedy, Victoria Vance, Jon Cobb | Written and Directed by Eric Hurt

the-wrong-house

You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Wrong House is yet another “in the woods” slasher flick given the generic DVD box art (which is decidedly similar to 101 Films’ previous release The Lodge) and the films desolate cabin in the woods setting. However instead we get a thrilling haunted house flick that shares more in common with 2003′s Dead End than you’d at first think.

Originally titled House Hunting, the film see two families, led by The Beastmaster himself Marc Singer and character actor Art LaFleur, in town searching for a new home, who both show up at a deserted farmhouse. After rescuing Hanna, a lost girl whose tongue has been cut out, it quickly becomes clear that something is not right as they discover that every attempt to leave the farm takes them right back to its front door. Stuck in this purgatory together, they’re haunted by a vengeful former owner intent on destroying them from within, with the simple declaration that only one family will call this house a home…

The second haunted house flick released by 101 Films that I’ve reviewed recently, The Wrong House shares a lot in common with the aforementioned The Lodge and I’m not only talking about the isolated house setting. I went into both films with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised – more so by The Wrong House, which starts off in similar low-budget filmmmaking fashion ropey script, ropey direction and ropier acting and from a technical standpoint everything about the film is amateurish. But the story shines through and once the film kicks into gear, as the families realise the situation they’re in, any qualms about budget, scripting or acting are forgotten and what you are left with is a damn fine scary movie.

Yes, director Eric Hurt fills the film with plenty of haunted house movie cliches such as ghosts popping up behind people in mirrors and the cast meeting grisly fate at the hands of the ghosts and each other. But, and this is what sets The Wrong House apart from plenty of similar films, is the idea that the families trapped in this ghoulish home are not just prisoners of the house, they are prisoners of the situations they have put themselves in and the secrets they are keeping – the son who hides the truth about a car accident, the mother who hides her feelings about the loss of her daughter, the father who hides the truth about his wife’s death from his daughter… You get the idea.

Thankfully these secrets aren’t served up with wads of cheese as you would expect from a low-budget horror. Instead writer/director Hurt slowly, through in-fighting and various family tensions, reveals the characters secrets with a subtlety that (bizarrely) isn’t present anywhere else in the film! Each family finds out about each others secrets as the audience does and, like the audience, they aren’t prescient to the details until much later – often just as it’s too late for whomever the secret may involve. It’s this aspect of The Wrong House that keeps you watching long after you’ve been turned off by the over-acting and bad scripting.

The Wrong House is out now on DVD from 101 Films.

**** 4/5

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