hell house llc 2Terror Films

Last year around this time, I stumbled across a little horror flick entitled Hell House LLC on the streaming service I utilize. I went in not expecting much, and came out of it far more impressed with the movie than I had expected. It was rather effective for squeezing as much quality horror out of the small budget it had, and became one of my favorites in the found footage category of horror movies.

As it turns out, while I would have been satisfied with just a one-and-done movie, the creator of Hell House LLC envisioned a trilogy, and has just released the second installment in September of 2018 (this year, as of the time of this writing). I was unaware of this, and found out about it when Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel was a featured review on the Who Goes There? Podcast. This sequel is available for streaming exclusively on the Shudder TV site, and will become available in a wider market come January of next year, but I had to check this out on the Greatest Season of the Year just because. Let’s take a look, shall we?

It’s been eight years since the opening night tragedy of Hell House, LLC and still many unanswered questions remain. Thanks to an anonymous tip, investigative journalist Jessica Fox is convinced that key evidence is hidden inside the abandoned Abaddon Hotel–evidence that will shed light on the hotel’s mysteries. She assembles a team equally hungry for answers with one goal: break into the hotel and discover the truth.

When compared to the first Hell House LLC movie, The Abaddon Hotel feels a bit weaker in execution. It doesn’t seem as focused in the plot, and seems to rely a bit too much on trying to answer all the questions that were raised with the first one. The movie managed to create the thick atmospheric tension and dread of the first movie; indeed, the inter-splicing of footage from other outside victims of the hotel helped to build the stakes for what the main characters are up against. Two come from a couple of kids who venture into the hotel on a challenge or dare, and seemed to me to punctuate how entirely stupid the kids these days are. A little tip, boys and girls: When you go up to a run-down, purportedly haunted place that others have rumored to never returned from after going in, and the door opens right up for you by itself, like it wants you to come right in, that’s the signal to TURN AROUND AND RUN AWAY.. I don’t care if there’s a visible plate of cookies right there. To quote a certain Mon Calamarian Fleet Admiral, “ITS A TRAP!”

That little geeky rant aside, I do have to admit that the character building here is pretty good. With the exception of the psychic guy (which, just by the way he was played here, was my default favorite character, regardless of how everything about him was a cliche’d trope, right down to his demise), I found myself surprisingly caring for the film crew that ventured into the hotel looking for answers. Mind you, once inside the hotel, the movie tended to rely a bit too much on the mannequins moving positions when you look away and look back. Still a bit effective, yes, but I found myself splitting my attention between the scene going on in the foreground and keeping an eye on the background for the inevitable Jack-In-The-Box scare to walk by. I have to admit, though, that at least the movie didn’t use any music stingers to insult your intelligence, and let us use our imaginations for a lot of the horror here.

Sadly, the weakest part of the movie is at the final ten, fifteen minutes. This is where the actions stop and become a full-on exposition dump, possibly in an effort to explain and answer the questions everyone had after watching the first movie. This, in my not-so-humble opinion, sucks away a good chunk of the mystery surrounding the hotel itself. It doesn’t completely ruin the movie, by any means; it just would have been a much more satisfying middle part of a trilogy had it just cut out that exposition part at the end and left us with another disappearance of another film crew, like at the end of the first movie. In other words, the twist fell flat and needed some pruning.

Overall, Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel was a decent follow-up to the surprisingly good first movie. It managed to maintain a level of spooky atmosphere and genuine tension, all the while, like with actual haunted house attractions this time of year, the intensity isn’t as great the second go-round, simply because of familiarity. Still, highly recommended, this one.