From A House On Willow Street


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

From A House On Willow Street
"Although it has a solid horror premise, the script here tends to meander, leaving Orr reliant on shocks and gore to maintain the tension."

We meet them when they’re planning the job. None of them really wants to be there. Although we never find out their exact reasons, each of them seems to have some desperate motive, and there are hints that this may be connected to a previous death. They refer to each other as family but they’re determined that the job will be professional. Hazel (Sharni Vinson) is cautioned about overconfidence, but she doesn’t see where anything could go wrong – all they have to do is kidnap the girl and hold her hostage until they get the money. Then it will all be over and she and boyfriend Ade (Steven John Ward) can kick back on a beach somewhere and not have to worry any more.

In cinema, no job like this ever goes to plan, but what these four plotters have to contend with is of a different order to the sual shootings and spats. It’s not so much that the girl is a problem – she’s young, scared, easily talked around. It’s what’s inside the girl. Director Alastair Orr takes a strong idea and runs with it, and even though he doesn’t really know what to do, produces plenty to satisfy most fans of demonic horror. The gangsters quickly fail the Scooby Doo test and split up, with two of them returning to the girl’s home and finding something terrifying. Meanwhile, all the lights go out and Hazel has to go down into the basement to fix them. Where the girl is. And things go from bad to worse.

Copy picture

Although it has a solid horror premise, the script here tends to meander, leaving Orr reliant on shocks and gore to maintain the tension. He scores well on the latter and has particular fun with tentacular demonic tongues. In keeping with one of this year’s horror trends, there’s relatively little threatening of women with these, with the youthful Ade seeming most imperilled. We also get the usual eye-bulging zombification schtick with a bit of a ghostly twist to keep it on theme.

The need for constant escalation inevitably gets the film into trouble, leaving it with nowhere to go towards the end, when the plot also starts to drift. Too many false endings reduce the impact of the final one. That said, the bulk of the story is strong enough to grip, Vinson makes a competent lead, and there’s a lot more visceral horror here than in the average supposedly gruesome possession film, so it works well enough for a Friday night thrill.

Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2016
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From A House On Willow Street packshot
Kidnappers abduct the daughter of a wealthy diamond distributor but they realise too late that she’s been possessed by a demon.

Director: Alastair Orr

Writer: Catherine Blackman, Jonathan Jordaan, Alastair Orr

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Carlyn Burchell, Steve John Ward, Zino Ventura

Year: 2016

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: South Africa


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