15th Apr2014

‘The Last House’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Lindsey Haun, Blake Berris, RJ Mitte, Diane Dalton, Randy Schulman | Written and Directed by Michael Bartlett

The-Last-House

A mind bending supernatural thriller, The Last House follows Kelly (Lindsey Haun) as she is house-sits for an estranged couple who are taking a trip to Italy to escape their troubles and start afresh. But all is not as it seems in this strange tale as Kelly, joined by her brother Tim (R.J. Mitte) and her boyfriend Jesse (Blake Berris), find the house’s dark secret slowly revealed to them in a twisting tale of events which affects them all.

This haunted house film is written and directed by Michael Bartlett. If I had to describe it in three words, I would say ‘Ghosts and Golf’. Luckily for you, I have a few more words than that so I will go into detail. This film follows the stories of both Kelly in the house and the couple (played by Diane Dalton and Randy Schulman) on their trip in Italy. Although on opposite sides of the world, their paths seem linked as we swap between the two with the characters sometimes going as far as to mirror each others actions. Most of the film is backed by a beautiful soundtrack of Mozart, Opera and other classical music which builds up as the film progresses. It almost emphasises the creepy and unnerving nature of the story as it unfolds before us.

Starting off, I did think The Last House was going to be another ‘scare and boobs’ flick, the attractive Kelly in skimpy outfits arriving at the house to be shown around by the couple. However, as the film progresses, the characters are manipulated and changed by events happening around them. I was impressed by the way the changes were portrayed by the actors, which in some cases were quite extreme. They seemed very believable, not forced as they could have been.

However, to say I understood this film, would be a lie. The story, was very disjointed. This was probably on purpose, but unless it is done effectively it can leave the viewer with a bit of a headache as they desperately try to figure out what is going on. Unfortunately, this might be a bit of the case in this film. Some very strange cuts between sequences sometimes left me confused as to what was going on. Especially when these cuts took place in the same location but just at different times. There was no visible cue or indication that we were somewhere else, even if it was temporally, and sometimes we were in a completely different location (like Italy) and I still didn’t notice. Although I liked the story, I was lost as to what was going on a lot of the time and even with the big reveal at the end, I was still left with many, many questions.

For example, why is the fact the house used to be a golf course relevant at all? See, Ghosts and Golf makes more sense now. Kind of.

The Last House is released on DVD on May 12th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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