Given that I’m back with my folks for a bit, I feel particularly bad that this movie creeped me out so much that I had my bedroom light on all night, inflating the electricity bill a little. At least we’ve got a smart meter.
The recommendation of many an r/horror thread, Hell House LLC is a fantastic example of found footage done both effectively and on a shoestring budget. Its plot is thus: a group of friends buy a purportedly haunted hotel in the aims of fixing it up to turn into a premiere haunted house attraction. Each of the group takes turns filming the process for posterity. which takes care of most of the ‘why were they filming’ moments.
Presented as a documentary, the interviews and analysis are threaded through the ‘excerpts’ of the found footage, which helps bump up the pace a little. None of the characters are fleshed out, but that’s arguably a minor quibble as the purpose of FF is to place the audience in the hot seat. We don’t need to care who’s doing whom or who’s arguing about what; by nature of the camerawork, it’s as if we are among them, experiencing what they see and hear and feel. The only downside to this is enduring the inane chatter while waiting for the scares.
That said, the scares, involving impossibly moving mannequins, are excellent – simple yet subtle enough to make you think twice about that clown costume in a shop window or that creepy prop in a haunted house. For me, the most effective scares echo elements of real life – basically ‘ruining’ something innocuous or everyday.
You’d better believe I ran through my hallway after I turned off the TV.