House on Willow Street
2016
Director: Alastair Orr
Stars: Dimitri Bajlanis, Zelmia Bezuidenhout, Carlyn Burchell
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

IFC Midnight have been putting out some really good movies lately. The Autopsy of Jane Doe, I am Not a Serial Killer, and The Devil’s Candy, to name only a few that spring right to mind. But then they also put out the horrendously horrible #Horror, so I guess no one is perfect. Still, it was with some anticipation that I put this new Blu-ray from the always-amazing Scream Factory in for review. I knew not a thing about this film; I never even heard its title before. Was this another winner, or a total piece of garbage like the aforementioned #Horror? Yes, I do really hate that movie, how did you guess? Anyway let’s find out if House on Willow Street is any good.

Some bad people come up with a plan to kidnap a young woman because she has rich parents. They go to her house (I guess on Willow Street, which is odd since the majority of the movie is not set there) to abduct her, ignoring all the weird, Satanic-like stuff carved on the wall. They bring her to an abandoned factory, chain her up, and that’s when the fun begins. It turns out the woman is possessed by the devil; ain’t that always the way these things turn out? Well the devil-woman has a weird mumbo-jumbo plan where if she possesses three other people then the door to hell will be flung open and the demon will be set free.

Now this film is sort of a mixed bag. Most of the actors do good work and there is some atmosphere and mood established along the way. That’s the good news. The bad news is everything feels far too familiar and things seem to be played far too safe. Everything goes exactly how you know it will from the start of the show and all of the scares are nothing but clichés. The kidnapped woman being possessed is no surprise as everything is telegraphed too hard beforehand, as is the fate of the woman’s rich parents, and including the climax of the film. Nothing is really all that bad, but nothing is done to make the movie stand out, and that’s a shame as they could have done so much more with that starting point.

On to the special features Scream Factory and IFC Midnight put together for this new Blu-ray release. Sadly there’s not many. There is a behind-the-scenes featurette and a theatrical trailer. That’s it. So it’s not bare bones but it’s not exactly packed, either.

House on Willow Street is a fine movie, an okay film, but not a great one. It has an interesting premise but then does little with it. It has a few creepy moments, but far too many more that leave you with a sense of déjà vu. It’s worth a watch if you’re not too demanding of your horror cinema entertainment, but there would be very little cause to watch it more than once. As such, I can only give this release a caveat-loaded recommendation at best.