MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
After a tragedy split them apart several years earlier, four friends reunite for another friend’s wedding. They stay in a cabin, where their night goes from awkward to strange to terrifying as the past collides with the present. A Manson-like cult used to reside in the cabin and surrounding area in a commune, and their ideas of expanding their minds included more than just taking the occasional acid trip. The result is a whirlwind of a movie with building mysteries and questions until the end.
House of Demons caught me completely off-guard. When one mentions cabins in the woods and friends in multiples of four to six, it’s usually easy to figure out what’s coming. But, this movie is unpredictable and original in some great ways. Overused tropes are twisted around to create something refreshing in the horror genre.
At the beginning of the movie, most characters were unlikeable, with the exception of Katrina (Whitney Moore). By the time they arrived at the cabin, I wasn’t sure if any of the characters were worthy of surviving. I was pleasantly surprised. The way the story unfolds brings out not only the flaws of each character, but the reasoning behind their behaviors and attitudes. There’s far more causing each of them turmoil outside of their shared tragedy, and the movie slowly reveals each of these in beautiful ways. The character arcs worked so well; each main character evolved so much throughout the movie that it was easy to understand how they became who they were before stepping foot in the cabin.
Though the writing is responsible for the interesting story of these characters, there are some fantastic performances that bring those stories to life. Dove Meir (Frazer) was so charismatic and charming, but as soon as I forgot he was the villain, his psychotic nature would appear. This flipping back and forth of personality isn’t easy to pull off, but Meir is very convincing in his role, and it was hard not to watch only him when he was on-screen. Kaytlin Borgen (Gwen) surprised me the most with her evolution throughout the movie. Her character and acting really shined in her scenes with Meir; they were absolutely hypnotic. Whitney Moore (Katrina) is my new nerd girl-crush. She was captivating, warm, and approachable in her role. I found myself looking forward to her scenes. Finally, I was already a Chloe Dykstra (Heroes of Cosplay) fan prior to this movie, so seeing her in the role of Nancy was a wonderful surprise.
It’s hard to delve too much into the story without completely spoiling it, so I’ll leave by saying this. It’s difficult anymore to find a horror movie where I can pay attention through the whole thing. House of Demons not only had my eyes glued to the screen, but it’s remained in my thoughts for several days since watching. It is one that will be on my “to-watch” shelf for years to come.
Creative Team: Patrick Meaney (Director/Writer), Tom Blair, Marchael Parness, and William Robert Webb III (Executive Producers)
Cast: Kaytlin Borgen, Whitney Moore, Morgan Peter Brown, Dove Meir, Jeff Torres, Chloe Dykstra, Amber Benson, and Paradox Pollack
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