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The Haunting of the Murder House

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2022

‘…while it’s derivative of Hollywood movies, it also mimics them with some verve and genuine enthusiasm…’

October doesn’t offer many surprises in the horror field; there’s a relentless stream of movies on big and small screens hoping to scare you over the Halloween holiday. Brendan Rudnicki’s luridly titled The Haunting of the Murder House is an alternative to the mainstream; it comes from DBS films, an independent imprint who are dedicated to making low-budget genre fare, a route that’s worked for film-makers from Francis Ford Coppola to JJ Abrams.

Narratively speaking, we’re on very familiar ground; a film-crew decide to generate some extra revenue by locking themselves into a deserted abode where a brutal murder has taken place; the opening shows a killer in a clown mask and a nasty throat-slitting to set the scene. Played by Sarah Tyson and Tyler Miller, the two presenters try to keep it together while they’re assaulted by various tropes familiar from other films, moving mannequins, Ouija boards, and eventually the threat of being possessed by the evil spirit that inhabits the house…

So while you might not have heard of The Haunting of the Murder House, it’s broken through via streaming; the copy I saw has generated over 100,000 hits in a few months. That’s a sizeable audience for a micro-budget feature, and while The Haunting of the Murder House may lack narrative finesse, it offers a route-one approach to entertaining an audience, and just about gets over the line. With a found-footage theme, there’s a lot of dark rooms, jump scares and the usual ghost-train jolts, but while it’s derivative of Hollywood movies, it also mimics them with some verve and genuine enthusiasm, only uncorking the gore in the last few scenes.

Rudnicki and his brother Kellan co-wrote The Haunting of the Murder House, on streaming for those seeking a fright night this Halloween, and they can probably mark this one down as a success. A little more daring and originality should see them develop their house style, but The Haunting of the Murder House achieves pretty much what it sets out to do; making us jump at things that go bump in the night.

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    • Found footage is often presented as something groundbreaking and new. Content wise, this is exactly what you expect, so no surprises, but if you dig Ouija boards and killer klowns, you get what you’d hope for…

      • Aw, my comments got separated somehow. Probably my fault, although I now feel like I’m missing out on one of those patented “very long comment chains” the blog is known for.

        • Full refunds can be organised. This happens to me when I comment on other blogs too. WP can be a mystery…

          • Indeed, but at least mystery is holiday/post appropriate. I’ll accept the refund, but only if it can be made in Red Vines. If that’s not a currency you trade in, I reckon I can live without.

            • If by Red Vines you mean Twizzlers, I’ll organise something according to the current exchange rate…

  1. I suspect that this is the sort of film that delivers exactly what’s on the label. There will be a haunting. There will be murder. There will be a house of some sort in which it all takes place. Does that sound about right?

    • That’s exactly what I mean by route one film-making. But these guys made it round the course, delivered a watchable to good 80 mins, and avoided most of the inherent problems with a film like this. Should satisfy the target audience.

    • I’m happy to dress up as a clown and jump out at people to supply bonus shocks. But which the result is very familiar, they deserve some applause for just getting it done and making films while many others just talk about it…

  2. I don’t jump at things that go bump in the night. I grab’em by the throat and throttle them until they cry uncle. You should seen that little punk Pennywise, he cried like baby….

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