While searching through Amazon Instant Video last night I came across a title called The House Behind the Wall. I had never heard of it before, but I’m unusually enticed by horror films that follow a small group of people moving into an ominous house. I had no idea what to expect with this film, and here’s my thoughts now having watched it in full.
The House Behind the Wall is written and directed by Robert Stephens with producer Jeff Carleton. Cast members include Elyse Dufour (Drakul, Merry Fucking Christmas), Spike Leffke, Erinn O’Sullivan, Josh Plasse and John Lesser. The film follows five college seniors who move into a house once inhabited during The Civil War. Quickly they come to realize that the fabled Woman in White still lurks the corridors at night.
First thing I’d like to say is that The House Behind the Wall should be envied by all aspiring filmmakers for its breathtaking sceneries. The entire film was shot in historic locations in America and there is just something so intriguing and special about that. I couldn’t help but feel like even if they took the aspect of the ghost out of the movie, I’d still finish my viewing just so I can see what other location they filmed at next. I’m impressed at the level of locations they were able to secure on an independent budget and every shot is, again, breathtaking! A round of applause for the cinematographer and location scout is much deserved!
Now, people have really raped the shit out of this title on Amazon Instant Video. Out of 60 viewer submitted reviews, over half of them are extremely negative. “Oh, it’s so slow!” “Oh, it’s so low budget!” “Oh, it’s not scary!” For those who say it’s low budget, I say show me the receipts that prove you can spend more money on the locations that these guys did. I’ll wait. Nothing? Moving on. Yes, The House Behind the Wall is slow and is mysterious and a little unnerving, but not overall too scary. This is because, in my opinion, it was filmed in the style of classic ghost stories that came before it. The House Behind the Wall is very rich in character development and all the talking and dramatic moments between friends really helps you to invest your time in them. If you rewind time to two or three decades ago, the supernatural horror flicks were far from what we see today with Exorcism of Emily Rose and Paranormal Activity. If you are a fan of ghost stories with old school flare, then this is the movie for you. It definitely delivers on that accord.
I do have to give some constructive criticisms from a technical standpoint. The opening and closing credits look like they were done with Windows Movie Maker. There are a couple of shots that look a little grainy. And apparently the five roommates only wore one bathing suit for the entire end of summer beach season. Other than that, I can’t harp on the movie. The haunting starts off almost immediately and the cast was fantastic. Amongst all the backstabbing, sleeping around and drunken antics I invested my night in them and that is a tribute to the actors. I think they all have what it takes to move from up and comers to name talent in this business. It’s hard to pick a favorite actor because they were all so professional and amazing, but my favorite characters were played by Elyse Dufour and Josh Plasse.
Before I give my final score, I want to give the creators of The House Behind the Wall a little advice. Step up your game with promotional materials. Your film is worthy of a wider distribution deal. Your film should be seen. Don’t let it slip past fans because of rotten promotional materials. A one-sheet that looks like it was made in paint. No IMDB. No attempts to really draw people to the product. Step it up, guys! You owe it to yourselves and to this movie!
The House Behind the Wall is a nostalgic reminder of how classic ghost stories used to be. It’ll take you back to a time when great actors and old school storytelling were able to shift genres from drama to horror and suspense. Enviable with locations and homey in approach, The House Behind the Wall is a slow burn horror film that has a massive appeal to its core audience. Dramatic, fun and suspenseful, there’s nothing left to say.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10