Starring Marc Singer (who I haven’t seen since his V mini-series days in the 1980’s) and Art Lafleur, the film is about two families who both wind up looking at a house for sale out in the middle of nowhere.
Charlie Hays (Singer) and his new/second wife Susan (Hayley DuMond) and daughter Emmy (Janey Gioiosa) form a nuclear but dysfunctional little family. Emmy hates her new step-mom and Charlie tries to keep the peace between the two.
They all go out to look at a house that Charlie is interested in. On their way there a bloody girl runs out of the woods and collapses in front of their car. When this happens a second car that has been behind them stops and out steps the Thompson family.
Don Thomson (Lafleur) and his wife Leslie (Victoria Vance) and injured son Jason (Paul McGill) take the Hays family and the girl into their vehicle and head to the house. Once there, the families find out that they can’t get away from the place.
The film starts out with an interesting concept. Wikipedia states that the “theme” of the film is that “other people are Hell.” I disagree. I think the film’s theme is one of secrets and sins. Everyone has one or the other, in some cases both, and the two families peccadilloes all come home to roost while they are trapped in the house.
Arguably, the film can’t seem to make up its mind on whether it is a ghost story or psychological horror film. This adds to the overall confusion of the events and why some of the things that transpire don’t really make any sort of “logical” sense. Part of the story’s arc deals with the information that Hays’ bank foreclosed on the family who lived in the house previously. Indicating some sort of Faustian pact with the “ex” owner.
There is also an intercom system that repeats a “recorded” message and “sells” the house to prospective buyers. One of the disconnects in this film is that system. While the house has no electricity and no heating, the intercom works fine throughout the entire film.
Some of the actors were a bit wooden, but Singer and Lafleur more than made up for that. Lafleur is one of those actors who seems to have been in just about every film or television series made. He has made a career out of playing very similar parts and if ever there was an actor who could be said to making a career out of being type-cast as an “also-ran,” it would be him.
Despite the dichotomous nature of the film and the lapses in logic, it is strangely watchable. I actually enjoyed it and was surprised to see it get such a low score.
I would say that as far as films go, I’ve seen much worse (Underground springs immediately to mind) and it did at least keep my interest until the end of the film. Annoyingly, there are no special features on the DVD so Hurt has no forum to explain his thought process.
So, a 3 out of 5 stars just for the presence of Singer and Lafleur.