FILM REVIEW: HELL HOUSE LLC
It is the rare gem of a film that turns up and evokes the desire to be viewed several times. It is even more rare to want to watch several parts of a series of movies, several times, in several months!
Enter Hell House LLC Parts I, II and III.
Hell House LLC, Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel and Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire, not to be confused with the 1973 film of nearly the same name, are all set in Abaddon-a small town in the upstate region of New York.
Being that I’m a bred, born and raised NY-er undoubtedly gives me extra reason to enjoy this movie’s location. So it’s of no surpre I find the upstate region to be a perfect film location with its abundance of trees and darkly lit roadways and large, desolate farmland. However you won’t find a town called Abaddon anywhere Up there or anywhere on the map.
Abaddon is a biblical reference meaning “King of Death” or “Angel of the Dead.” If you search further you will likely only find the towns Adams, Addison and Afton in upper NY.
Right, not the same.
The quality of this story and the use of practical effects stands up on their own two feet.
It may seem nitty gritty but it’s worth a mention—the film’s atmosphere is glum, damp and cold. The tone throughout reminds me of and is true to the worst days of fall in upstate New York.
Also accurate, the actors are believable in this locale, even if at times a bit corny, they manage to pull us deeper into the mystery surrounding the Abaddon Hotel. I appreciate Director Stephen Cognetti’s ability to refrain from the use of overindulgence. New Yorkers, especially suburban folk will understand.
So kudos for that Stephen Cognetti
The Hell House LLC movies don’t rely on jump scares. This movie was made to scare us. Jumps come from moments that tell a frightening story effectively-very different aspects of a great film and a bad one relying on cheap tricks.
There is a lot of praise for Hell House but it seems there is a lot of negative criticisms as well. I am part of the former camp as I have nothing bad to say. Hell House LLC is a solid entry in the haunted house genre. And more so, I cannot compare it to another film in the genre. We all have our favorites whether it be The Conjuring, Insidious or Poltergeist etc., but Hell House LLC feels like no other. It is a movie in its own category; a little movie with a lot of heart and a big payoff. That is something we do not often find.
All Hell Houses aren’t created equal.
It’s true. Parts I and II are bomb. The latest addition to the series does not fully measure up to its predecessors. While I enjoyed part III, it lacks the charm and overall feeling of the rest of the series, although it does have its frightening moments.
I would strongly urge folks to watch these films in order and do not skip any. They are meant to be seen in full. Yes it does matter. When you arrive at part 3, just know it’s not the strongest but it will give you insight, maybe even closure. And that to me is a successful trilogy.