When Nick Di Santo learns that his father is not only alive but can possibly reveal the origin of his son’s dark gift, he sets out on a trip that takes him to an abandoned mansion he thought only existed in his childhood imagination.
Luke Kleintank : Nick Di Santo
Alex McKenna : Eve
Anthony Rey Perez : Ryan
Alternative title : Haunted
I think “Dark House” aka “Haunted” is a questionable case. Both movie titles certainly won’t get a price for originality. They could have called the movie “Dark Forest” since almost the entire movie is situated in a forest. Victor Salva, the director of the acclaimed “Jeepers Creepers” saga, lost all orientation in the creation of this film, because it’s become a hodgepodge of different horror genres. A lot of clichés of the horror genre are also thrown together here. Ultimately it’s a variant of “Rosemary’s baby” mixed with “End of Days” and on top of that some elements of the slasher genre and a bit of supernatural phenomena. A cocktail of horror genres. Not always successful, but overall it was still enjoyable to watch and dosed correctly.
Nick Santo (Luke Klein Tank) just turned 23 years old and visits his mother in an institution who’s been there since he was young. Nick has a special gift. He can look in the future and see how someone is killed, just by touching that person. He never knew his father but hopes to find the truth after his visit and finally get some answers to the question of whether his father is possibly responsible for this gift. Eventually, the visit didn’t progress as he expected. His mother loses her life in a mysterious fire and Nick inherits a house. Not just a house, but the house he has been drawing since his childhood. Together with his good friend Ryan (Anthony Rey Perez) and his pregnant girlfriend Eve (Alex McKenna), he goes on a search for the house, hoping for some answers.
You actually expect anyone with a little common sense to recommend the pregnant girlfriend to stay at home. But no, she merrily goes with them on an adventure. The search leads them to a secluded area where they are told that the house was washed away during a massive flood. Mind you , a full house , including the basement. Who would have thought ? Along the way they almost hit some land surveyors who obviously offer their help to locate the floating house. “Dark House” isn’t really exciting or terrifying at any time. Even if they throw in Tobin Bell, the crazy Jigsaw from the “Saw” movies , as the creepy caretaker . That ridiculous wig he’s wearing doesn’t contribute to creating some suspense . Finally we have a cursed house, in a dark and menacing forest and a bunch of chimpanzees with dangerous looking axes. The group is urged to leave and never return. But despite all the efforts they always end up back at the cursed house .
Ultimately, it all becomes clear a bit and the whole setup unfolds itself and it degenerates into a fight between good and evil. Despite the total lack of scares and a thrilling intense atmosphere, the movie keeps you in its grip and you can feel the oppressive and threatening atmosphere. We have again an obvious situation with a group of young people in a dark wood and an old ominous building that contains the key to unravel the mystery. But the chases, the swirling hard hitting axes and the different twists make this still an enjoyable film.
The acting was nothing to write home about, but afterwards proved not to be terribly annoying. Luke Kleintank was perfect for the role of Nick. A future young father who is looking for his roots. The moments that he had flashbacks about the eventual death of some people, I found fairly successful. McKenna and Perez did what you could expect. And Bell did what he does best : playing an old eerie mysterious person. The portions gore were portrayed in a quite entertaining way. However, it wasn’t very original. Another “split by an ax” head. The only thing that really annoyed me and made me shake my head out of disbelief was the fact that there’s always someone who’s so ultra-horny, he can’t even resist to start humping around with a female member of the group , even while they are surrounded by bloodthirsty cavemen with axes . Even a box of Viagra wouldn’t help me then.
So you can’t really call this movie ingenious. Everything has been used before somewhere in another movie. They have stuffed it all into one movie. A shortage of ideas was not really a problem. The oversupply was a problem. But the real horror fans will probably appreciate this. I would even say that this is a horror that is suitable for those who are not really a fan of the genre. Because it’s not really a horror anyway. As I read somewhere: “Talking heating vents are not scary – nor is anything else in the Dark House”.