Saturday, February 21, 2015

Film Review: The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015)

The Last House on Cemetery Lane (Review)
United Kingdom/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The severe lack of horror is the most disappointing aspect of the film."

Screenwriter John Davies (Lee Bane) moves to an old manor to focus on his writing, but finds himself tormented by the home's restless spirits...

The Last House on Cemetery Lane is a film with an eerily familiar story. A writer struggling with writer's block moves into a large, secluded home. There's a blind woman who lives on the third floor of the home, but she doesn't come out, so he practically has the house all to himself. Eventually, he meets his neighbor, Cassie (Georgina Blackledge), and they develop a relationship. Things go bump in the night, like a record player playing at night or a painting falling over, and... that's about it. The Last House on Cemetery Lane leads to an interesting but predictable ending.

The Last House on Cemetery Lane isn't a terrible film, especially by low-budget indie standards. In fact, I thought it was much better than a film like Seed 2 and a little better than The Ouija Experiment. Unfortunately, The Last House on Cemetery Lane is a generic and mostly dull film. Like I said, it's a plot we've seen a million times with little originality. Even worse, it's not particularly frightening. I thought the use of the record player was creepy, but it's usually boring for the remainder of the runtime. There are very long and drawn-out conversations between characters, a lot of walking and contemplation, but not a lot of horror.

There's this scene towards the beginning of the film that plays like a music video. In fact, it's exactly a music video. John Davies walks around town and on the beach with his hands in his pockets as he deeply contemplates, while some band's, presumably also indie, music plays in the background. This scene threw the film off - made it feel less like a film and more like a, well, music video. It becomes more of a traditional film afterward, but, like I said, it's filled with... I guess, nothing. Just walking and talking. Consequently, this feels like a short film unnecessarily stretched into a feature length film.

The acting wasn't half bad, at least. Lee Bane and Georgina Blackledge were more than competent, although they hardly had any chemistry. The music was hit-and-miss. I thought some of it could pass as creepy, but it often seeped into more of a fantasy soundtrack – too much energy for the tone it tried to create. The cinematography and camerawork were decent, nothing special. Writer and director Andrew Jones delivers a dull and disappointing experience. Every time the film feels like it's building up to something terrifying, it fails to deliver. Instead, it opts for cliches and ineffective melodrama. If he had cut the filler and focused more on horror, this would've been much better.

Overall, The Last House on Cemetery Lane is a mediocre film – borderline bad. It's not necessarily poorly made or acted, like Seed 2, it's just really boring and ineffective. The severe lack of horror is the most disappointing aspect of the film. I mean, imagine that: a horror film without horror... blasphemy!

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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