05th Sep2015

‘Sinister House’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Heather L. Tyler, Sadie Katz, Cheryl Sands, Lisamarie Costabile, Clint Jung, Julia Putnam, Jim Falkenstein, Madison Wenn | Written by Jim Towns, Scott Frazelle | Directed by Jim Towns

sinister-house-dvd

After a couple of years in the wilderness, 2013 film House of Bad (the on screen title my review disc still carried) has been dusted off and given a new coat of proverbial paint before getting a UK DVD release, under the supermarket-friendly title of Sinister House - with bog-standard “spooky house” cover art to boot!

The film tells the story of three sisters, yearning to break free from their sordid pasts, who unite for a simple plan: steal enough drugs to set them up for a new life. But when the eldest sister Teig decides they’re going to hide out in their old, abandoned family house, its painful memories quickly become too real to fight off… The sisters are caught in an ever-escalating series of terrifying encounters and dark scenarios. Lily fights her addiction as dreams of a dead woman wake her in the night. Teig struggles with terrorizing memories of an abusive father and Sirah tries to hold the family together. Crazed with withdrawals and unable to distinguish dreams from reality, this attempt at a new lease on life turns into a race for survival.

Less a horror movie and more of a character study of family (and mental) breakdown, Sinister House is one of those films that is packed with good ideas – only the execution leaves a lot to be desired. For a start the trio of girls are nothing more than stereotypes. Fair enough, stereotypes whose sole purpose (it would seem) is to wear as little as possible get their tits out at every possibility – but they’re still walking, talking cliches. Even the jump scares, often used as a last resort to terrify audiences, don’t even elicit a single jump, not even when the creepy The Ring-esque spirit shows up!

Thrity minutes into Sinister House and I was dying to turn off the movie, and thats even after the addtition of the so-called “sinister” flashbacks to whatever happened in this particular domicile in the past. They are intriguing at first but by the time you’ve seen yet another out of context flashback you’ll be getting more than a little bored. And don’t get me started on the drug addict sister… A character whose sole goal it is to anger the other characters AND the audience.

Despite a twist that takes the film into possession and ghostly revenge territory, the only real positive thing I can say about Sinister House is that is was good to see Wrong Turn 6‘s Sadie Katz in another film role. Although her “mad sister” act in that franchise flick is worlds apart from her performance here.

Sinister House is out now on DVD from 101 Films.

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