Horror Movie Review: From A House On Willow Street (2016)

From a House on Willow Street has a simple enough concept. A group of robbers plan one final job before getting out of the game for good. However, this isn’t a regular heist that they are planning. Hazel leads the group in the kidnapping of a young woman named Katherine who’s the daughter of wealthy parents. Hazel knows for a fact that the parents have access to a large quantity of diamonds.

When they arrive at Katherine’s house they find her parents asleep but Katherine is nowhere to be seen. They search the home and find a number of strange things. The most notable of which is what appear to be demonic symbols scratched into the wood of a wardrobe. It is at this moment that Katherine is found but she isn’t quite what they had expected. She looks completely worn out, like she hadn’t slept or showered for months. Hazel & the others naturally find this strange but take her anyway.

They take her to an out of the way warehouse where they intend to keep her. A chained collar is put around Katherine’s neck so she cannot escape. She warns Hazel that it would be best for them to release her but this only antagonizes Hazel. They attempt to record a ransom video to send to the parents. Katherine only protests that her parents refuse her captors demands. Hazel threatens Katherine and explains that she should react accordingly to ensure that things are over and done with quickly. She agrees and they finish the ransom tape but cannot get hold of the parents.

It is decided that two of them will have to return to the house and make sure that the parents are there. When they arrive back at the house they find Katherine’s parents dead in their bed and two priests brutally murdered with tools in the basement. It is at this point that one of them starts to be haunted by a gruesome demon of someone from their past. They both agree to get the hell out of there but not before grabbing some tapes that detail the events that had taken place.

Back at the warehouse Hazel is frightened when Katherine utters personal information that she simply couldn’t have known. It was at this moment that I have an issue with the logic behind continuing the kidnapping but they don’t end it there.

The two guys that went to the house crash their van after one of them sees the demon from the house. The other swears to hear his dead mother calling to him in the woods so stupidly goes after the voice. He is attacked by a demon that shoves a long spiky tongue thing down his throat, presumably possessing him.

They eventually arrive back at the warehouse; the guy that was attacked by the demon is placed in solitary confinement. He appears completely unresponsive after the incident in the woods. They remainder of the group gather to watch the tapes that were taken from the house. It reveals that Katherine is possessed by a powerful demon. All the demon needs to do is collect 4 souls and it will be free to roam.

Will the group make it out alive or will their souls be harvested by the demon?

On the surface, From a House on Willow Street has a fairly generic concept. However, the idea of people kidnapping someone only to discover that they are possessed by a demon is quite a cool notion.

The real problem is that the film executes everything in such a clichéd way. There are a number of demons that appear in the movie and for the most part they actually look great. It seems that’s all that they are there for though. They appear to characters on a number of occasions but almost never physically harm them without any explanation. It becomes obvious that their rapid appearances are only there to be used as a cheap jump scare for the characters and viewers.

Here’s an idea. Why not make it seem as if the girl that they capture is completely normal. Then when she is revealed to be a possessed demon it would be remotely surprising, just a thought. The demonic symbols in the wardrobe and her appearance are a dead giveaway. It utterly fails to shroud it in any kind of mystery.

Nothing is subtle about this film. It felt like it was throwing a bunch of random things at the screen that have worked well in other movies. Doing this in the hopes something would garner a reaction. It feels like it is trying so desperately to be scary. It uses almost every cliché trope there is, it just comes across as forced.

The characters are in a word, bad. They’re the cliché one final job before we’re done types. They have very little in the way of development and make choices that a person with literally half a brain wouldn’t make.

The effects are very hit and miss as well to be honest.

From a House on Willow Street has a couple of decent ideas but it fails pretty hard to present any of them in a fresh or original way. It’s not terrible by any means, I was interested enough to see it through to the end. It has a couple of decent moments, basically it’s just ok.

 

From A House On Willow Street
  • 4/10
    The Final Score - 4/10
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