Sharni Vinson sure was a badass in You’re Next, wasn’t she? I wasn’t really familiar with her until then, but she also starred in the (shitty) shark movie Bait, which I thought would signal seeing her in a ton of other movies. Guess what? That didn’t happen! When I found out she was in a new horror movie, House on Willow Street, I was pretty pumped! Then, I watched House on Willow Street, and I was no longer pumped. Womp womp.
I swear this is from the movie and not just a video game still.
Hazel (Vinson) leads a gang of thugs on a secret mission to rob a house, which may or may not be on Willow Street, of diamonds…or money…or something. Whatever, the reason they’re robbing the house doesn’t really matter. The thugs cross paths with Katherine (Carlyn Burchell) and, risking complications, take her hostage. As the thugs explore the house, peculiar (and spooky) things begin to happen and it becomes clear that Hazel and her thieves have bitten off far more than they can chew.
Oh, brudda. Last year, the home invasion film Don’t Breathe became a moderately-sized success with its plot of thieves breaking in somewhere and having to deal with someone who turned the tables on them. House on Willow Street had a similar structure, but instead of a blind man who turned the tables on criminals, the thugs seemed to have crossed paths with Enchantress from Suicide Squad. The film is a funhouse of supernatural horrors, yet none of the horrors were all that scary for the viewer. There were jump scares-a-plenty, but that’s really the only successes the film had.
Why’s that witch lady from Suicide Squad wearing a hoodie?
Despite the film being, well, not that good, the creature designs of some of the ghouls were pretty interesting, even if some of them look like they were lifted from the Left 4 Dead video game franchise. Also, a good chunk of the effects looked like they were practical effects, so that’s another element that I appreciated. Granted, there were tons of CGI effects in instances where practical effects were impossible, but the effort to make real makeups is commendable. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the whole tone felt like a ’90s movie haunted house movie. I kept thinking that the film felt like the Thirteen Ghosts remake, or the House on Haunted Hill remake, or The Haunting–wait, why am I reminded of remakes? Is this film a remake? Or is it just that it had a weird blend of practical and CG effects? If you’re a fan of movies that look like video games or the ’90s in general, then this film might be for you, but neither of those things are for me so neither was this film.
Wolfman Moon Scale