Its 5:09 pm
The cheetah and I were checking out Dan of Reject Filmz during a live cast on YouTube a few weeks ago. He mentioned he had written a film company called Wild Eye Releasing and asked if they wanted some films reviewed. They said “Sounds pretty cool…we’re down with that with one condition. We know you are tight with that cheetah who reviews stuff with his human,get him to review our stuff and we’ll send you both a box of goodies”.
Dan said “Cool,let me drop the cheetah a note and we’ll make this happen”.
And so after an exchange of emails,phone calls and lunch in Hollywood,the cheetah and I are now reviewing movies from Wild Eye Releasing. The company is not new to us,my buddy Romey loves their stuff,he even has “Bigfoot Vs. Zombies” which he says is the best horror film this side of “Manos: Hands of Fate”. With that kind of high praise,the cheetah and I sat down and watched our first Wild Eye film, “House of Salem”…..
“A group of kidnappers become a child’s unlikely protectors after discovering they have unwittingly been set up to take part in a satanic ritual. As they begin to uncover the truth of the house they find themselves trapped, they must battle demonic forces and uncover a legacy of over a hundred years of murder in the name of the Devil.”
When you read that summary,you sort of expect a action packed and ultra-violent story of good versus evil. But this being a British horror/mystery film written and directed by James Crow,it decides to play to its strengths,its cast.
The story is straight forward,a group of kidnappers wearing scary masks break into a house and take away 12 year old Josh. During the tussle,Josh’s babysitter cuts one of the kidnappers before being slugged and knocked out. When the injured man attempts to shoot her,the leader,Jacob (Leslie Mills) tells him to leave her be. They don’t need that kind of heat on them.
The 5 kidnappers consist of 4 men and a woman named Nancy (Jessica Arterton) head for their safe house which has provided by their client. As they settle in,Josh’s mom and dad return and kill the babysitter before heading back out,we know they are not nice people.
At the safe house,the group is told to make a ransom video,deliver it to Josh’s parents and then sit tight until they get their money. The client then instructs an assistant to cut all power to the House of Salem and to “tell the Circle we have our prize”.
What no one knows is Josh (Liam Kelly) is no mere 12 year old,he is also psychic and can speak to the dead,it is he who discovers that the house is much more then meets the eye.
Meanwhile Nancy has taken Josh under her wing and tries to encourage him,that his parents will pay the ransom,when Josh drops a secret,the whole dynamic changes for them all. The house begins to close in on them and once was a tight knit and organized group suddenly starts looking at each other sideways. It doesn’t help when everyone also starts to see bloody dead bodies around the house. As one of the kidnappers named named Jack (Jack Brett Anderson) and Nancy start to get close,they to wonder just why Jacob is guarding the basement so carefully…….
So how did we like “House of Salem”? Quite honestly it was better then I thought it was going to be. I think Crow did the right thing in adding elements of mystery instead of going for the loud and noisy,the layers of the story slowly unwound and while I saw one twist happening,I didn’t see the two others and that was refreshing. I thought the ending was brilliant as well as two villains think they have the upper hand but little do they just how “connected” our small hero really is,its a cool piece of writing.
The cast was also solid and I have to say thing about English films,I can really appreciate the fact most casting directors cast normal everyday people. You can really relate much more to these folks then if you had cast a roomful of model types. Crow is to be commended for casting this group of fine character actors as well.
What hurt “House” is the mistake of trying to have the actors speak while wearing their masks,all you hear are low muddled words which leave you guessing on what is being said. Having a character lift a mask up high enough to talk would have been the best way to handle this. Some of the rooms were too big and you can hear the echoes during a couple of key scenes which was a bit distracting,like I said,some bumps and bruises. “House” was Crow’s second full length feature and as he has completed 5 films since,I’m sure he cleaned up in these areas.
“House of Salem” is rated “R” for violence and language. Special features include deleted scenes including an alternate ending. It has a run time of 1 hour 40 minutes.
You can get a copy of “House of Salem” by going here!
The cheetah and I both give “Salem” a thumb/paw up. Not a bad start from Wild Eye Releasing. What was the last supernatural film you watched? Drop us a note and share it with us.