Death House (2018) starring Kane Hodder. Directed by Harrison Smith.
When I first heard about Death House I jizzed in my pants. A horror film with Felissa Rose, Kane Hodder, Michael Fucking Berryman, Sid Haig, Dee Wallace, Barbara Crampton, Bill Moseley, Adrienne Barbeau, Tony Todd, Lloyd Kaufman, basically anyone who’s ever been in a horror movie, had me thinking we were getting some kind of The Expendables for the horror freaks. Instantly my mind conjured up a bad ass group of anti-heroes teaming up to survive in the horror film to end all horror films. Avengers Infinity War be damned, this would be the real shit! Imagine Michael Berryman trading lines with Sid Haig! How about a smackdown between Kane Hodder and Tony Todd? A hot shower scene with Felissa Rose and Barbara Crampton! Right? Right? My fevered horror brain went into overdrive as I thought about all the possibilities having an ensemble cast this fucking awesome would bring. This was going to be the horror film of the fucking decade!
Yeah, well, forget all that. The film basically stars Kane Hodder, everyone else is given blink-and-you’ll-miss-it micro roles, most of them don’t even have any lines. Fuckers!
Anyways, the film is about some prison built deep underground, like The Hive in the first Resident Evil movie, (which is a great fucking movie by the way, the only people who don’t like it are people who play games on consoles, fucking uneducated peasants). Enter some ‘agents’ (CIA? FBI? Who fucking knows?), who are introduced to the facility. This ain’t no ordinary prison though, oh no, here the inmates are kept permanently in a stupor and fed a concoction of LSD and barbiturates and placed in a virtual reality world so their personalities can be studied, broken down and eventually replaced. I’m not convinced about the science behind all that but fuck it. The prison consists of nine levels, with each lower level housing more dangerous criminals. Level nine is the worst, and houses five inmates called The Five Evils.
Well at around the forty minute mark, some kind of EMP attack shuts down the security systems and all the inmates wake up and get loose, causing the agents to begin their battle for survival as they try and get to the top level and freedom. Meanwhile Kane Hodder has been studying how to be really evil or something and rounds up the inmates to head to the bottom level so he can join the Five Evils as er, The Sixth Evil. Cue lots of psychos-on-the-loose mayhem and bloodletting.
My main problem with the movie is that it’s just completely fucking dark all the time. All of the action takes place in scenes almost reaching AvP: Requiem levels of darkness, you just can’t work out what the fuck is going on 90% of the time. The agents are carrying flashlights and they have this really annoying habit of aiming them directly at the camera, one second you have your face pushed up against the TV trying to see what’s going on and then suddenly you’re blinded by a fucking flashlight to the retinas. I swear, the only lighting in this movie comes from gunfire and flashlights being swung around in all directions.
Anyways, everything comes to a head with the Five Evils and Kane Hodder where it’s revealed there are other Death Houses (sequel anyone?).
Look, I really wanted to like this movie, I really did but it’s so uninspired given the opportunities they had with the cast it just leaves you feeling underwhelmed and looking for the next thing to watch. I haven’t felt this way about a movie since Rob Zombie’s 31. In fact that would make a great companion to this movie if you fancy an evening of can’t-be-bothered-going-through-the-motions movie making.
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.