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First Look Review - HOUSE OF GOOD AND EVIL

A couple move into a new home in an attempt to save their marriage, only to find it houses a dark secret.


Review by James McAllister

Directed by: David Mun

Starring: Rachel Marie Lewis, Christian Oliver, Marietta Marich, Jordan Rhodes



"With no tension or terror to speak of, a suffusing sense of boredom soon overwhelms the film as a whole. Contrary to what the title suggests, there’s barely anything that’s good about this house."


The house in question is a towering, ominous presence; surrounded by dense woodland that secludes it from the outside world. On the road leading up to its imposing, isolated structure, a man hacks at a tree with the sort of gusto Norman Bates reserved for guests who had decided to take a shower. Naturally, to gaze upon such a stark sight inspires nothing but feelings of fear.
When Maggie (Rachel Marie Lewis) and Chris (Christian Oliver) arrive at said house though, they look upon its gleaming white exterior with hope, for the purchasing of said dwelling represents a last-ditch effort to save their dying marriage. Soon after they settle in however, Maggie begins to hear strange noises in the night, and becomes convinced that the house is haunted.
Debut director David Mun has clearly read the rulebooks before making this, quite frankly, horrendous horror film. The spirit of ghost stories such as Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar’s The Others, and the pervading paranoia of Oren Peli’s original Paranormal Activity can be felt trying to break free from within the crisply photographed walls of this disturbed domicile.
The predominant problem is Blu de Golyer’s scrawny script, which builds its foundations on a dull and drab storyline. The so-called “shocking” conclusion makes about as much sense as the fact that the film was somehow nominated for a number of awards at the London International Film Festival. It's also besieged by too much torturing and tedious scenes of Maggie and Chris’s relationship imploding.
The drama feels forced and superficial, as does the horror. For the most part, Maggie’s waking nightmare equates to a succession of standard sound effects (creaking doors and wailing walls; you know the drill), which Mun heavy-handedly augments with Austin Creek’s grotesquely garish score.
With no tension or terror to speak of, a suffusing sense of boredom soon overwhelms the film as a whole. Christian Oliver, whose performance could at best be described as cloying, but consistent, eventually loses all interest in the material and mopes around the screen for the last half hour with a perpetual look of indifference.
The only one who escapes relatively unscathed is Rachel Marie Lewis who, having been forced in to nearly every frame of the film, succeeds in crafting a strong but vulnerable heroine; although even she struggles with the more unhinged elements of the story. Contrary to what the title suggests, there’s barely anything that’s good about this house.




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