September is here, which means it’s practically Halloween! So, we’re kicking off this spooky season with some horror-ific movie recommendations from your favorite streaming services. Whether you use Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, we have a perfect match for you!
First on our rec list is Hell House LLC, which is available on Amazon Prime Video. Now, I was highly skeptical about this movie because I had never heard about it. In fact, I put it on as background noise while I was working because I wasn’t really even giving it a chance. For the most part, the film is shot in found footage/documentary style, which all horror buffs know is a difficult sub-genre to master. However, that footage is also intertwined with the filming of an interview being conducted with a member of the Hell House group 5 years after the incident. This made me even more skeptical because there seemed to be so much going on, but I decided to give it a go. And surprise! I got nothing done because I quickly realized how well done it was!
The first notable thing was how well the “documentary” was filmed and structured. The movie itself revolves around a haunted house that is being put on in an abandoned hotel. The gang of crew members are traveling around the country each year, setting up a similar haunted attraction in each city they visit. Filming the process each year is supposed to help them make the attraction even better the next year, at least according to the head honcho, Alex.
Naturally, their home movies capture numerous paranormal happenings due to the hotel’s gruesome history involving occult crimes and suicide. But, of course, none of them had any idea what the hotel’s history was until after they arrived and decided to sleep on-site during the haunt’s set up.
The found footage is caught using camcorders, head cams, and security cameras that are mounted in the hotel to monitor the attraction and ensure patron safety. That seems like a lot to have going on, but the cuts work well together to not only distinguish which footage is which, but also bring them together coherently to unfold a smooth plot. I was genuinely impressed with how well it all came together. Though most of it was “filmed” by the same character, when the time came to pass the baton, the action remained consistent.
Next was the acting. A lot of times you find a movie you’ve never heard of on a streaming service with an interesting plot, but less than interesting actors. But while Hell House didn’t possess anyone well known, the actors made their roles believable and worked well together to create a genuine dynamic between friends/partners. Their work was ultimately what made the movie feel natural and realistic. It may be difficult to find another film with a cast this dynamic any time soon.
Of course, the real meat of this article comes down to how scary the film was and how well fear was cast into our hearts. Unfortunately, for those of you who love jump scares, you won’t find much of that here. But, it was that lack of jump scares that really made the film stand out.
That’s not to say that there aren’t surprises to throw you off guard; there are definitely plenty of twists and turns that will make your stomach do backflips. Things stand out, but they don’t pop out. They’re creepy as all hell, but you won’t need to excuse yourself to change your undergarments. Apparitions make silent appearances. A crew member is targeted and subtly possessed. Props that can’t move find a way to move. Or better yet, a way to move about the hotel. These scares are more “WTF” than screams of terror, and they really make the movie unique. You’ll definitely be on the edge of your seat wondering what the hell is going on.
Overall, the film creates fear by following the “less is more” rule. Which, honestly, a few more movies could do. The entire premise of the movie is that no one knows what happened on the opening night of Hell House, and even after watching all the found footage, it’s still difficult to understand. And the concluding plot twist really seals the deal by making the situation even more bizarre than before – even a well-seasoned horror buff might be caught off guard. With the combination of its creative plot, eerie thrills, and suspenseful twists, Hell House LLC is definitely a must-watch this Halloween season!
Hell House LLC is also available on iTunes, VUDU, Google Play, Vimeo On Demand, PlayStation, and Xbox. Check out the trailer below for a peek at this movie, and be sure to check in next week for more fear-inducing film recommendations!