06th Jan2016

‘The House on Pine Street’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Emily Goss, Taylor Bottles, Cathy Barnett, Jim Korinke, Natalie Pellegrini, Tisha Swart-Entwistle, Keagon Ellison, Daniel Shirley, Robert Jones, Jeannie Blau | Written by Aaron Keeling, Austin Keeling, Natalie Jones | Directed by Aaron Keeling, Austin Keeling

the-house-on-pine-street-cast

Seven months pregnant, Jennifer Branagan (Emily Goss) reluctantly returns to her hometown in Kansas after an unexpected mental breakdown. But when strange things start happening in their new rental home, Jennifer begins to fear that it may be haunted. Alone in her convictions, Jennifer is forced to question her sanity as she attempts to find out what, if anything, is plaguing the house.

The House on Pine Street checks all the horror boxes. Creepy people who stare, creepy kids, creepy sounds, pregnant women, insufferable mothers, you know, the usual. In fact, as horror stories go, it pretty much follows the path you would expect it to. But the thing is, it doesn’t really matter. You are too busy being scared of everything to notice. The House on Pine Street (which doesn’t really look like a haunted house) masterfully builds up the tension, starting with just a door moving on its own (which could be blamed on draughts!), and easing up the scare factor until you are screaming alongside the main character as she runs for her life (not me though, obviously. I’m a professional. *Ahem*).

Along with the build up, there is a heavy theme of insanity throughout. The film does a great job of making you doubt Jennifer’s sanity even though you are witnessing the terrifying things happening to her with your own eyes.

I think I even doubted my own sanity at one point.

One of the problems with being a film reviewer is the fact that you can’t run away and hide from the film; you have to watch it to the end. So my eyes were glued to The House on Pine Street even though my legs were trying to pull me halfway out of the room. Emily Goss does a great job as the lead in this film. She is a completely convincing Jennifer, desperately trying to figure out what is going on in her house (apart from what looks like a bit of a damp problem and rats). The supporting cast, including her husband Luke (Taylor Bottles) and her mother (Cathy Barnett) are strong as well, providing plenty of seeds of doubt to scatter across Jennifer’s sanity. Her mother in particular does a brilliant job of making the viewer want to strangle her for being the Worst. Mother. Ever. I am always impressed when an actor can make me despise a fictional character so much.

The House on Pine Street is the haunted house film you have been waiting for. A great scare and a great watch.

****½  4.5/5

The House on Pine Street  is released in the UK on February 1st, courtesy of Second Sight.

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