Bill Moseley, Leslie Easterbrook, and Allan Kayser
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Equiv. to "R"
Breaking Glass Pictures
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"House of the Witchdoctor" Released by Breaking Glass Pictures
An indie horror flick with a retro vibe, Devon Mikolas's House of the Witchdoctor has been picked up by indie distributor Breaking Glass Pictures for a simultaneous VOD/DVD release. If anyone can make this film work, it'll be the creative folks at Breaking Glass.
House of the Witchdoctor starts off promisingly enough with Leslie Van Hooten (Callie Murphy) joining fellow grad students at her family's isolated estate. Her parents, Peter (Bill Moseley) and Irene (Leslie Easterbrook), leave the group alone so that Leslie is able to grieve the year anniversary of her boyfriend's murder. The peaceful weekend turns to hell when Cliff (Allan Kayser) shows up with his drug-addicted sidekick Buzz and the two are hellbent on a murderous rampage. Unfortunately for them, a few even stranger folks from the neighborhood (What neighborhood? I thought we were isolated?) show up and decide to wreak their own havoc.
House of the Witchdoctor is a promising film, at least promising in the world of indie horror, with some remarkably gruesome kills, a decent amount of gore, and one rather jarring rape scene. The film is sabotaged, however, by an amateurish technical quality and occasional dumbed down dialogue that is distracting enough to pull one out of the entire action. After all, it's hard to be horrified when you're laughing.
The cast? They are surprisingly abysmal and that, quite sadly, includes the nearly always good Bill Moseley, whose body language gives you this vibe of "WTF have I gotten myself into here?," and Leslie Easterbrook, whose name was initially made in the Police Academy films before finding a career renewal in indie horror. Both are usually dependable, but they simply look lost here.
Unfortunately, they're also the film's acting highlights.
On the plus side, D.P. Hanuman Brown-Eagle does some lensing work that far outshines the film, while Christopher Farrell's original music gives the film an atmosphere that the performances never live up to.
It's easy to understand why the likes of Moseley and Easterbrook signed on here, assuming that it wasn't purely a financial decision. There's a promising film to be made here and an underlying idea that could have been a blast to watch in the right hands. Unfortunately, the end result is an instantly forgettable flick that will likely only find fans amongst the indie horror fringe.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic