Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: "House of Bad"

Just the other day, the good folks at MovieBoozer setup a debate between myself and fellow reviewer Mitch Hansch over the movie Olympus Has Fallen. Despite some problems with the format, we came to a mutual understanding for each others opinions. When the recording was over, however, I couldn’t help but wonder; are all opinions on movies created equal?
Far be it for me to deny another critic their right to review, or for an audience member to express themselves, but some ratings just confuse me. How can someone rate 2001: A Space Odyssey six beers or The Happening thumbs up? Sometimes, a movie can generate opinions from both sides of the spectrum, and that’s fine. But sometimes, there just is no valid opposing view.

For House of Bad, there can be only one grade - poor.
And I really hate that I typed that, but it’s just true. The movie is about three half sisters (though maybe only one of them is half?) who have just robbed a drug dealer of his stash, and hide out in the most secure and off the grid place they can think of; their old childhood home. They figure they’ll hide out for two weeks, then skip town (even though skipping town first might’ve saved them some trouble). The big sis takes full control, the one confirmed half sis struggles with drug withdrawals and the middle sis tries to hold it all together. But the dark history of the house may be too much for them to handle…
…or for the director. Overacting, over expository and redundant dialogue, bad editing and confusing story moments all make for something unintentionally funny. Horror films are known for a level of campiness and fun, but this was going for a more dramatic thriller theme. Unfortunately, it approaches its theme with the skill level of a bad late night cable softcore porno. At one point, the big sis is standing alone in a room, naked, bathed in moonlight, with a gun to her head. She goes on and on about how her life got so messed up, before a vision of her evil father appears. Continuing to monologue, she stares out the window, with an eye twitching like a mad scientist in an insane asylum. I laughed hard, knowing that I probably was supposed to feel unnerved.
There is another scene where the man they stole the drugs from shows up at the house, and ties the girls up. He drones on and on, over using the f word and repeating himself (possibly bad improv to fill in the blanks of the scene?) before finally getting stabbed on a bad edit, and then shot in the head with a dot of paint with bad squib exploding from behind his head. When you have made me laugh more than a schlock horror flick like The Granny, and your tone is that of a supernatural thriller… As Alfred said to Bruce Wayne, “Know your limits”.
I’ve read quotes from reviews that have been promoted on the films’ facebook page. They say it’s one of the best new horror films, it’s an example of great independent cinema, etc. With no level of arrogance or doubt, I can say that these reviewers either A) weren’t watching the movie I watched B) didn’t watch the movie at all C) were way too kind or D) were influenced by some demonic being. Filmmaker Jim Towns is a wonderfully nice guy, and I genuinely look forward to his next project, but House of Bad is just not good. No other opinion fits.
1/5 *s

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