ABANDONED HOTELS MAKE THE BEST (AND WORST) HAUNTED HOUSE ATTRACTIONS
Main Cast: Gore Abrams, Ryan Jennifer Jones
Director: Stephen Cognetti
Found footage. Haunted house. I’m IN. But so many of these movies fall just a little short. They’re enjoyable, and I’m glad I watched them, but I often find they’re lacking in any real scares.
Then along comes Stephen Cognetti’s Hell House LLC and shows the world what a real found footage haunted house movie looks like.
Years ago, on opening night of the Hell House haunted attraction in the small town of Abaddon, NY, things went south and several people were injured or killed. Now investigators are looking into what really happened that night with some help from one of the survivors.
The bulk of this story is told as flashback, seen through the eyes of several cameras, manned by Paul, part of the team assembling the attraction. We watch them arrive at an abandoned hotel, then begin to build their latest version of Hell House, a regular yearly event.
But as they work, things just aren’t right. Sara is sleepwalking and mumbling something strange in a backwards language. Paul notices one more “freak” than they thought that had in one of the rooms. And that clown mannequin … yeah, there’s all kinds of stuff wrong with that thing.
But everything they have is riding on this year’s Hell House, so the group tries to chalk up the strange events to someone else in the group messing with them, and they move forward with their plans.
But then opening night comes, and all hell breaks loose.
Hell House LLC is not a jump scare movie. There are several jump scares, I’ll be honest, but they didn’t seem to be planned that way. For the most part, I attributed them to the found footage method of storytelling, as well as a HEAP of tension that had been built up.
I can’t even praise the masterful touch applied by the writer/director enough here. I was watching in broad daylight, with sunshine streaming through the blinds in my office, on my computer screen, somewhat bleary-eyed and disheveled, a cooling cup of French vanilla coffee at hand, and totally enraptured and cuh-REEEEEEEEEEPED out.
I’m going to be watching this movie again.
Unfortunately it will have to be the regular version–until I can procure a copy of the DVD. See, the DVD copy is the extended cut that I saw, with bonus footage, a director’s commentary, and deleted scenes. But it’s currently only available through https://hellhousellc.com/hell-house-llc-directors-cut-dvd/. So I’ll get that for my collection, and until then I’ll have to settle for the VOD version. The DVD extended cut will be available on Amazon, but the bonus footage is only on this exclusive direct order DVD. So that’s the one I’ll be getting.
I advise everyone who doesn’t remember the last time they felt dread while watching a movie to get this DVD. I can easily see this becoming an annual Halloween movie tradition, it’s that effective.
The movie takes a few minutes to get going, and I did find the characters a little underdeveloped, and I had a hard time remembering all of their names. And normally that would bother me, but the star of this movie is the scares and Hell House LLC is not short on those. This is a skin-crawling, don’t want to sleep with the lights out, can someone walk down the long dark hallway with me so I can go to the bathroom kind of movie.
Go buy the extended DVD cut direct so you can get the bonus footage, and then remember who it was that told you about this movie, because I’ll be expecting a thank you in my email.
And you’re already welcome.
You can pre-order at Amazon here:
C. Dennis Moore is the author of over 60 published short stories and novellas in the speculative fiction genre. Most recent appearances were in the Dark Highlands 2, What Fears Become, Dead Bait 3 and Dark Highways anthologies. His novels are Revelations, and the Angel Hill stories, The Man in the Window, The Third Floor, The Ghosts of Mertland and The Flip. He is writing another Angel Hill novel called Return to Angel Hill with co-author David Bain.