Hell House LLCTerror Films
2016
NR

At this point, I don’t think I would need to explain again my thoughts on the “found footage” style of horror movies, but just in case this is your first time here let me give you the condensed version: I don’t really mind them, if they’re made well and offer something more than the standard same-old, same-old. In other words, pretty much how I view other sub-genres within the horror umbrella. There are good ones, and many many bad ones. It’s just that I find it easier to get burned out on found footage movies than on other genres, mainly because there’s not much going for it past the typical haunting or odd exorcism plot.

Which brings us to this movie, here, Hell House LLC. I came across this title while perusing what movies I could watch during my free trial of Amazon Prime (which I opted for to same some money on 2-day shipping of something I needed), and while I instantly knew by the quick blurb description that this was another one of those found footage movies, the premise really kind of intrigued me enough to stick it on my watch list. Because while Hell House LLC is technically one of those Found Footage From Inside A Haunted House movies, the haunted house in question is actually a haunted house attraction that turned out to be haunted for realsies. Not the most imaginative of twists, but to put things in context, in Omaha where I live there is a long-running Haunted House attraction that is run in an old building that is also purported to be actually haunted as well. It’s enough to arouse the imagination in someone like myself, who never really lost his sense of wonderment with things like this.

Anyway, Hell House LLC involves a handful of young entrepreneurs of the titular Hell House LLC, a professional haunted house attraction that originally was centered in New York city. In 2009, they decided to move things to a more atmospheric rural community setting, and set up shop in the long-abandoned Abadon Hotel. Go-Pro footage, along with some smart phone video as well as professionally shot film show the progression of the team setting up the old hotel leading up to the big opening night in October, putting up the decorations and effects, working out the kinks and making things just so, hiring the actors…and also all the weird things that start happening that aren’t part of the setup. Like the clown mannequins wandering off by themselves. Or one of the team members beginning to sleep walk. Or figures in black hooded robes popping up in the oddest places. But, despite the setbacks and stress, they all manage to make to to opening night…which ends in a bloody disaster that left several dead and even more injured and visibly shaken, some of the survivors committing suicide days later. Five years later, afer massive cover-ups and speculation, a documentary crew tries to piece things together…and you can probably guess how things turn out.

Overall, Hell House LLC was actually pretty good. It didn’t bore me, there was some genuine atmosphere and sense of dread built up, and I can attest that the clown bits actually creeped me out, and I’m not creeped out by clowns whatsoever. So, well done in that aspect. The characters manage to not be just a bunch of irritating cannon fodder, which made the impact of the events even more…um, impactful, I guess. The filmmakers really managed to squeeze as much effectiveness with this, with both the editing, cinematography styles and general effects uses, managing to mess with your head a bit.

I had a lot of fun with Hell House LLC. I would say it’s very much worth a watch some night.