I’m getting a little tired of the found footage and mockumentary style horror movies, but every so often one comes along, such as The Sacrament, that is so good that it serves as a reminder that this sub-genre may still have something fresh to offer. Unfortunately, The House with 100 Eyes does not do that. Instead, it feels like a mishmash of ideas we’ve seen before with the effectiveness level of said ideas turned down.
The plot is simple. A psychotic married couple are documenting the creation of a snuff film in which they have two teenage girls and a boy over to their home to have sex with each other and be murdered on film. We’re supposed to see the creation of a snuff film. Unfortunately there’s never a second that we forget we’re watching a fictional movie. It never feels real, which would be a key component to making this device work, so instead it falls flat.
It’s being sold as part comedy, but I didn’t find many reasons to laugh despite a few noticeable attempts to elicit such a reaction. It’s mostly played pretty straight.
On the DVD packaging, we’re told that The House of 100 Eyes is like American Psycho meets This is Spinal Tap. It’s supposed to be both horrific and humorous. I can’t honestly say that I found it to be either. The best way I can describe it is more like Man Bites Dog or The Last Horror Movie meets Suburban Nightmare with maybe a little bit of Lucky Bastard thrown in. It’s just not as good as any of these films (and only one of them is really all that highly regarded in the first place).
The gore effects are reasonably decent, but sometimes as they’re occurring there is annoying camera nonsense that makes them hard to see, which I guess is supposed to make it seem more real, but instead it just makes it seem like something didn’t look as good as they had hoped so they did that to hide it. I don’t know if that’s actually the case, but that’s the feeling I got. In fact, there is some pretty annoying camera shaking and noise throughout a good deal of the picture and it contributes to some horrendous editing.
Going into the movie, you might get the impression that you’re going to be in for some extreme shit, but if that’s what it’s going for, it misses the mark there too – you’re probably better off with something like one of the Guinea Pig or August Underground films. If you like the concept of the murdering couple with humorous elements, I’d suggest Sightseers. If you want to see people strapped in chairs and tortured, watch one of the Hostels. They have much more substance.
I realize everything I’ve said up until now would lead you to believe The House of 100 Eyes is one of the worst movies I’ve seen. It’s not. It’s easier to get through than a lot of films I’ve watched over the years, and the 76-minute running time helps in that department. I just feel like I’ve seen pretty much seen everything it has to offer before and done more effectively. If you haven’t seen any of the other movies I’ve mentioned in this review, you might get more out of it than I did.
AMERICAN PSYCHO meets THIS IS SPINAL TAP in this gory mockumentary. A nice middle-class American couple spend their spare time making and selling snuff videos. When they plot their latest – featuring three kills in one night – everything goes terribly, bloodily wrong. THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES is simultaneously shocking and satirical.
The film is written and co-directed by Jim Roof and co-directed by Jay Lee (Zombie Strippers!, Alyce Kills).
The House with 100 Eyes comes to DVD on June 16 from Artsploitation. Before that, on June 9, they’re releasing the far more entertaining Der Samurai (review). On June 23 they’ll release Horsehead, which is next on my reviewing agenda.
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