Hell House LLC knows how to scare you and does it with glee.
Hell House LLC is a supernatural haunted house found footage mockumentary horror film that is brilliantly executed. It has great overall scares and some jump scares, but the film mainly focuses on an atmosphere of dread and is very tense and ominous. The structure mixes a mockumentary about what happened and found footage made by the soon to be victims and brings it all together nicely in the end, causing more horror. It has a great buildup that meets the expectations of a really scary found footage. If you suffer from coulrophobia then beware of the ultimate creepy clowns in the basement.
In 2009 a tragic and deadly incident took place in Abaddon during Halloween. The newly opened haunted house attraction in the former Abaddon Hotel caused many deaths, terror and chaos. What exactly happened in there still remains unclear.
The film starts with a mockumentary, made by Diana Graves, about that incident with youtube videos and interviews with experts. She wants to find out what really took place in there.
Then the found footage is shown about the haunted house crew. Alex Taylor the founder of the company, his girlfriend Sara Havel, his friend Andrew MacNamera (Mac), and techies Tony Prescott and Paul O’Keefe turn old houses or hotels into a haunted house attraction for Halloween. This time it’s going to be the Abaddon Hotel that has a sinister legend of its own. While they set up, Paul records everything, including the horrifying supernatural hauntings.
Why you should watch it
The movie has an excellent start that increases the credibility of this incident. But it’s not just that, it’s part of the bigger story too, resulting in a big twist.
But it’s the found footage what makes this film an outstanding scary movie. It’s very playfully filmed, yet not too shaky or annoying. Although they are all friends, there’s some friction about money and about Max’ leadership, that only increases when strange things start happening.
But before the hauntings start, their relationships are just enough developed to make them likable (or not), and real people who take their company serious but have fun doing it. It’s as if you are watching a vlog about a group of friends. It’s all very organic and natural. The absence of accompanying music, with only the natural sounds increases this realistic feel.
Even when things go bump in the night, it still feels very natural, as if you are watching real footage. Mainly due because they kept the hauntings subtle, and don’t get into the supernatural gear immediately. An atmosphere is created that it could all be a prank from someone, probably Paul, but a feeling of discomfort lurks in the shadows, that keeps creeping up.
Until it gets really scary. The clown doll props in the basement are just creepy by themselves, but when one of them appears suddenly in the house at different places, then the horror is on. While it remains very subtle, slowly the scares are building up as is the ominous vibe and the tensed atmosphere between the group. The scares are well-timed and stay very elusive and mysterious at first. But even when all hell breaks loose at opening night it still remains mysterious what really happened.
That’s the only time the camera shots are blurry and chaotic, due to the chaos all around, running and screaming people trying to get out. The rest of the time the images are very natural. They didn’t use night vision, why should they, there’re not investigating something, so the shots at night are very dark, but not too dark. There still is enough to see in the darkness and natural lighting creates an even more foreboding vibe.
Of course the hotel itself with its numerous stairs, rooms, small hallways and the chaotic design is an excellent place to make it extra creepy and claustrophobic and you can easily lose your way. With the creepy props in place it really becomes a haunted house that even gives the five friends some jitters. Not to mention the occult symbol in the basement.
The real strength of the film is therefore the organic nature of the film. No special effects, visual or sound are used to make it creepier, just the house itself, the clown and the idea of a haunted house that plays with them does the trick.
My favorite part
When Paul is asleep and wakes up at night first by the creepy clown that is just standing there at the bottom of the stairs is extremely creepy. The clown doesn’t do anything. You never see him move, still he does move around the house. That idea makes it even creepier. This clown causes a lot of frights in different places playing with them and it’s so well-done without a jump scare or other embellishments, just the creepy clown all by himself is hair-raisingly scary. Especially when you suffer from coulrophobia, then you should be double warned.
If you want a fun entertaining really scary found footage, then this is your pick.
Scare factor: ★★★★★
Thrill factor: ★★★★☆
Originality factor: ★★★★☆
Cast and crew
Hell House LLC is directed and written by Stephen Cognetti. It stars Ryan Jennifer Jones (Sara), Danny Bellini (Alex), Gore Abrams (Paul), Jared Hacker (Tony), Adam Schneider (Mac), Alice Bahlke (Diane).
Duration: 93 minutes. Cinematography: Brian C. Harnick. Produced by: Joe Bandelli. Production company: Cognetti Films. Distributed by: POV Horror, GoDigital.