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First Look Review - THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET

A heavily pregnant couple move into a supposedly haunted house.


Review by Emily Craig (@emillycraig)

Directed by: Aaron Keeling, Austin Keeling

Starring: Emily Goss, Taylor Bottles, Cathy Barnett


I found the atmosphere of The House on Pine Street to be its strongest quality – the scares are well paced throughout the film and there is no reliance on overused jump scares or gore to terrify the audience. What makes the film scary is the unknown and curiosity of the entity in the house.



The House on Pine Street is a psychological horror film directed by brothers, Aaron and Austin Keeling. This well-made film is about pregnant Jennifer (Emily Goss) and husband Luke (Taylor Bottles) who move in to a supposedly haunted house away in Kansas, far away from their apartment in Chicago. Jennifer is heavily pregnant and Luke is absent a lot of the time due to his new job; Luke definitely seems to be more happy about the move, while Jennifer seems somewhat distant and uncertain about the whole thing, perhaps because of a traumatic event that occurred in Chicago that is left ominous until near the end of the film.
While Jennifer is left on her lonesome, she starts noticing peculiar things about the house; it starts off with small occurrences, such as unknown knocking and doors shutting on their own, but things gradually get worse as the film progresses and she convinces herself that the house is haunted, although nobody believes her. The film definitely shares similarities with Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968), particularly in terms of plot, but I found myself comparing it to The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014); both films have two female leads that somewhat show resentment towards their children and it is left unknown whether the monsters/ghosts in the film are real or a metaphor for grief.
I found the atmosphere of The House on Pine Street to be its strongest quality – the scares are well paced throughout the film and there is no reliance on overused jump scares or gore to terrify the audience. What makes the film scary is the unknown and curiosity of the entity in the house. Emily Goss does a brilliant job of making her role believable - her facial expressions are very accurate and throughout the film she genuinely does look scared and shocked. Cinematography is also strong, with the camera constantly tracking Jennifer as she goes to discover the noises in her house, leaving the audience to be just as vulnerable as she is.
The middle of the film can get quite repetitive and slow, which some audience members may find slightly boring; I however felt myself glued to the storyline and the film had my attention always, so keen was I to know why the couple had moved, and I was curious as to what the outcome would be. There are quite a few shocks along the way, which are enough to bring those distracted viewers back on track, and what’s really great about this film is that it is open to interpretation; was it just a figment of Jennifer's imagination or was there really something tormenting her and her family?
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