Directed by Erik L. Wilson
The primary purpose of an automobile is to move us from place to place. For food it’s to nourish us. Sure, you can add plenty of luxuries to either, but the prime directive doesn’t change. Bells and whistles just improve the experience. For horror the primary purpose is to entertain us while making us just a bit uncomfortable. Erik L. Wilson’s new short film, House Call, achieves its primary objective.
With a running time of just over 15 minutes, House Call wastes little time setting up the story and getting to the creepy meat of the film. Aimee Bello competently plays Janice, a domestic abuse victim looking elsewhere for love. Michael Shepherd Jordan plays her new love interest, Steve. And it’s Jordan’s performance, and the practical effects that went into creating his malevolent side, that make this film succeed.
Jordan’s work is unsettling. There’s nothing hugely over-the-top about his performance; just something about it gave me the creeps. We’re only talking about a three- or four-minute section, but it had me white-knuckled until the climax of the film. And that doesn’t happen very often.
The film is nicely shot; however, the practical effects far outshine the digital ones, which come up short. The down and dirty hands of F/X of this film look excellent, but I could have done without some of the CGI that looks a little stiff. Also, if you’re going to use an old hag in your film, get an old woman to play her, Drag Me To Hell style. There was nothing wrong with Janet Gawrys’ portrayal of the old woman except she didn’t look like an old woman. She looked like a younger woman in make-up playing an old woman.
But aside from these factors, House Call did what few horror films do to me anymore: It made me uncomfortable. It may not have all the bells and whistles – no heated seats or power sunroof – but it achieves the primary directive. Mission accomplished!
3 1/2 out of 5