House of Fears (2009)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Corri English, Sandra McCoy, Michael J. Pagan, Corey Sevier, Alice Greczyn
Directed by Ryan Little
When you're watching a movie called House of Fears that's all about people inside a haunted house attraction designed to play off people's most common fears and those people are then being killed one-by-one by their worst fears manifested to life by way of a cursed idol representing an ancient fear god - yeah, I'm afraid not delivering on the fear factor definitely warrants serious demerits.
Bland teenage stereotypes get a sneak peek of a haunted amusement attraction days before it opens for the Halloween season. We too practically get a sneak peek at this haunted attraction since their tour of the place goes on for way too long before anything supernatural occurs. Personally, from what I saw, I don't believe this house of shock would get too many rave reviews come Halloween time if it were an actual seasonal attraction.
Each area of the "House of Fears" is designed to represent a specific phobia come to life, but mostly it just looks like a series of tiny stage sets representing iconic horror settings: a nighttime graveyard, an Egyptian tomb, a mad scientist's lab, a hall of mirrors, a clown house, and so on. Still not sure what phobia the meat locker set what supposed to represent unless there are actually people out there suffering from deep-rooted fears of frozen beef or Rocky Balboa.
The threat comes in the form of an evil Tiki idol not all that dissimilar to the one that terrorized the Brady Bunch on their trip to Hawaii. The woman that owns and operates this "House of Fears" is quite hardcore when it comes to authenticity and clearly has plenty of money to burn; she collects objects from all around the world that she thinks would add to the ambiance of her Halloween haunted house. When you put an African fear god idol in a haunted house, you really are just begging for trouble.
The artifact fatally preys upon these teens' deepest, darkest fears, at first in sort of a Final Destination sort of way, but it won't be long before it begins bringing a spook house scarecrow, a wax statue of a Nosferatu-ish gravedigger, a sinister clown, and other such fearful attraction figures to life to physically do its rather bloodless dirty work. The gravedigger is fairly ghoulish looking; the rest are pretty run-of-the-mill. To call the death scenes unspectacular would be an understatement.
I'd compare House of Fears to an R-rated episode of "Goosebumps" except I don't think it would garner an R-rating. Doesn't feel like a movie aimed towards kids, yet is quite tame in comparison to most horror movies these days geared toward older audiences. If anything, the movie makes for an inoffensively bland experience - not entirely unwatchable, but I am hard-pressed to think of any reason why you'd want to. Again, a fright flick titled House of Fears that is all about playing off of people's fears but is incapable of instilling any fear of its own.
When you go to a haunted house attraction at Halloween time, you’re looking for two things: to be scared and have fun. You won’t be scared to death watching House of Fears and you won’t have much fun watching the characters that do.
1 1/2 out of 5
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