Janice (Aimee Bello) is in an abusive relationship with her husband Dave (Brad Egger). As some people do in an unhappy relationship, Janice finds herself a lover, Steve (Michael Shepherd Jordan). She has had just enough of Dave, and is strongly considering leaving him for Steve. Actually, the audience gets the feeling that she is willing to do a little more than just leave him, but that may not be the best decision in the end.
The opening sequence to this short supernatural horror film sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Janice and Steve are lying in bed discussing the circumstance they are in, which gives the audience a clear picture of the situation at hand. The reality of the situation then comes to life when Janice returns home. The audience gets to witness Dave’s behavior, which leads to Janice electrocuting him in the bathtub. There is an excellent shot of Dave’s fried body before the story moves on.
Four months later, Janice and Steve are now living together. Everything seems fine to Steve, but Janice keeps having a strange feeling that Dave’s mother (Janet Gawrys) is watching her. Well, she is right. The real creepiness of this film sets in when the audience gets to see his mother conjuring up a spell on the night of the couple’s one-year anniversary. The scene displays a great contrast of the mother’s evil intentions, and shots of the couple making love.
From this point on the real fun begins, and I don’t want to ruin it for you. Let me just say it has enough to make horror fans happy. A creepy atmosphere set by the background music, and whispers from the mother. There is tension that leads to some scares, and an ample amount of blood spilled. The story comes to a satisfying ending, including a very interesting call from the next-door neighbor.
Overall, I’m happy that filmmaker Erik L. Wilson gave me the opportunity to view “House Call.” It accomplishes a lot in its brief screen time. The story is set up well, and has a strong finish. There is tension, some scares, and blood. The film is shot using a Red One camera, and they capture some really nice shots with it. If this short film comes to a film festival near you, I suggest you take the time to see it because I give it 3 pools of blood.
Oh my God, Harry Potter is married and has a 4-year-old son! Ok, that is my one and only weak Harry Potter joke. I won’t fill this review with references, and jokes about Harry Potter. The days of Harry Potter are over, and it is time for Daniel Radcliffe to move on. Instead, let me get into the movie at hand, “The Woman in Black.”
A struggling lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), is on his last straw at his law firm. He is sent to a house just outside a small village to go over the paperwork of a recently deceased woman. If he can’t get the job done, he will most likely be fired. Being fired might be the least of his concerns when strange things start happening after his arrival.
Let me start by stating the obvious: Daniel does a great job of acting. He actually doesn’t have too hard of a job when it comes to lines because there are stretches of the movie when he is alone. That is when he is just as sharp reacting to the odd occurrences in the house. The rest of the cast does a nice job as well, including Roger Allam, who plays Kipps’ only friend in the village, Mr. Bentley.
All right, now onto more important things such as, how scary and creepy is this movie. Well, it does a decent job in both departments. There are some good attempts to scare the audience with noises, and things jumping out before the woman in black makes her first appearance. Later, the woman in black does her best to pop up from time to time, which apparently scared the casual audience, but might not bother hardcore horror fans.
As far as creepy, the house covers it. It plays just as an important part of the movie as the woman in black. It is full of strange stuff, particularly the toys of the child that lived there. There is a cemetery on the grounds, which I still don’t understand why anyone would want one on their property. The most unique thing about the house is that it is basically an island all by itself. There is one road that leads there, but can only be accessed at low tide. Once high tide hits, Kipps is stuck in the house.
The scares and creepiness had me “thinking” “Insidious,” but not quite at that level. Really, they would be nothing without the tension. They build tension effectively throughout the movie leaving the audience waiting, and waiting for something to happen. There are times where he gets lost in his own thoughts while sorting through paperwork, and something is going on behind him. Other times he might be walking down a long hallway after hearing a weird noise. Overall, nothing matches what the kids do to themselves, but I will leave that for you to see.
As mentioned, the woman in black really isn’t that scary by herself. Yes, when she pops up here, and there it may scare some people, but she really is just a woman in black. In a way, she kind of reminds me of Mary Shaw (Dead Silence). The woman in black was a scorned woman, who has come back for revenge as a ghost. She has the whole village on edge, and certainly gets her revenge. Of course she has a history, which the audience learns about as Kipps figures everything out. There is nothing too complicated going on, and you might even be able to figure it out before Kipps does. I realize they could only go into so much detail, but it might have been nice to learn a little more about her. For example, did anything special happen to give her special ghostly power, or is it just a part of being a vengeful ghost?
Sometimes I catch things in movies, and I just feel the need to mention it. There is one scene where Kipps takes a candle into a room, mind you he hasn’t carried one up to this point in a dark house but that is besides the point. He ends up placing the candle on a shelf before eventually leaving the room. Little time passes and he enters the room again with another candle. This time the candle goes off, falls, and he goes after it like it is the only one he has. Well, what happened to the first candle? Yes, this is what I notice!Nothing major, just felt the need to point it out.
It is still early in 2012, but audiences have already had some interesting endings to movies. There is the sudden ending to “The Devil Inside,” which had a lot of audiences booing. “The Grey” left some audiences crying out for one more scene. If they followed the way the movie was going, it was inevitable that it would end that way. I’m not going to give away the ending, but at some point in this movie it might become apparent to the audience that the movie can end in one of two ways. Just as the movie heads into the final scene there is a big tip off to what is about to happen. This ending might not be as controversial as the two aforementioned movies, but it will still get the emotions flowing.
In the end, I’m happy this movie did not turn out to be another “The Devil Inside.” The scares and creepiness exceed “The Devil Inside” by far. While the woman in black herself might not be all that scary, she will appear from time to time giving a good scare to some people. The house is perfect for a creepy setting, and the whole imagery of the village adds to it. The story is easy to follow, but maybe could have offered up a few more details. The ending will bring out some emotions, but probably not the same ones felt at the end of “The Devil Inside,” and “The Grey.” So Harry Potter, I mean, Daniel Radcliffe helps get this movie 3 pools of blood.