The Hell House Trilogy(Review)[Weirdo Wednesday]
With October beginning, I wanted to tap into a trilogy that embraces the Halloween fun with a different perspective. There is a collection of films available through the Shudder streaming service titled Hell House. There is Hell House LLC, Hell House LLC 2: The Abaddon Hotel, & Hell House LLC 3: Lake of Fire. These films are presented in the first-person perspective, but they vary in their approach of the material.
The first one tells the story of a haunted house attraction that is being made for Halloween night. It is being constructed in an abandoned Hotel in Upstate New York with a mysterious past involving cults and satanic rites. The footage is a combination of documentary footage from the creators of the haunted house and personal cell phone footage of both the actors of the house and the guests. Spooky things slowly happen while the attraction is being constructed, culminating into a fantastic surprise that takes place when it finally opens for the public.
The second film is a combination of a film crew investigating the hotel a year later to try to understand what happened, while combining mockumentary style television interviews and social media live streams of local kids who televised themselves going inside only to never be seen again.
The third film is similar to the first one in which a millionaire has purchased the hotel (ignoring its controversial past) a year after the 2nd film, and tries to turn it into a live-action theatre show that plays out similar to a funhouse. Naturally, opening night turns out to be a bigger ordeal than anticipated.
Every film gradually shows us the build-up of the history while sprinkling in trace amounts of tension and dread by having very small things occur over the course of days (or hours in the case of the 2nd one), giving the audience just enough to know that something is going on but you are never quite sure of what until the explosive finale. In this regard it almost plays out like one of the earlier Paranormal Activity films, but it still has much to offer to make it its own.
Mannequins that move on their own, strange phone calls coming from peers who are supposed to be upstairs but aren’t really placing the calls, a past that changes the more its researched, and so on. It’s a slow-burn mystery all the way that admittedly has a fair amount of cheese to it, but you can’t help but admire the thoughts and efforts put into these 3 films.
Each one works as a standalone entry, but the trilogy makes for an entertaining work of film in its entirety. In my opinion the 2nd one is the weakest one, but it still has its merits making it worth a watch. Featuring unknown actors which helps add to the authentic feeling, a location that changes in front of our eyes (even though it’s a large, stationary building), and a good amount of dread, this series was fun from beginning to end.
In Conclusion: This series may look like just another first person horror film that was made on a low budget, but it has heart and a unique take that makes them worthwhile viewing; especially with Halloween approaching.
Did I enjoy it on my first visit? Yes.
Would I go back for seconds? Absolutely. It’s fun and has a good amount of mystery that is worth a re-visitation.
Would I recommend it? Yes. It isn’t a breakthrough for the genre by any means (in regards of both horror and first-person horror) and there are certainly more entertaining haunted house flicks available, but this one has its own reasons to be enjoyed. Especially when it’s streaming on Shudder, which is a cheap service for horror goodies.
You can view the trailer here:
'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra