Film Review: House Call

House Call

When a short horror film starts with a twenty-something killing their lover, the audience tends to assume they know where it’s going next. Not everything is so simple in Erik L. Wilson’s House Call. In it, the young and beautiful Janice goes to disturbing lengths to start a new life with a sweeter, more sophisticated young man. Her actions come back on her, but they do so in ways she (and most likely you) won’t see coming.

House CallWhile you’ll have a feeling for who is going to get their just desserts in House Call, the fun in the film is seeing how they play out. The film’s witchcraft angle opens it up for the use of some solid, spooky special effects, and the use of makeup is deliciously graphic in some scenes. Wilson also does a good job of letting the tension ramp up before the gore kicks in – whether it be letting the audience wonder what Janice’s original boyfriend is capable of doing to her or hinting at what monstrous fate lies just around the corner for Janice’s new beau, Steve. Therein lies the film’s greatest strength – preying on the gut-twisting anxiety that arises when one romantic relationship gives out for another one.

House CallHouse Call does fall into a few traps you sometimes seem plaguing horror shorts – a couple of the performances come across a bit stilted, and the use of heavy metal and pop songs ends up being more of a distraction than anything. But that doesn’t take away from the freakish special effects and creeping tension that make the film work. And as the film tears into its bloody conclusion, it all adds up to a quick burst of ghoulish fun.

House Call is currently making the film festival rounds, so keep an eye out for a screening at a show near you.

Rating: 3/5 ★★★☆☆ 

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About Josh_C

Josh has studied film at the Universities of Missouri and Florida, and he is currently studying horror film and popular culture in the Communication and Culture program at Indiana University. He has previously worked with the True/False Documentary Film Festival and the Ragtag Theatre in Columbia, Missouri, and he served as short-term production assistant on This Film Is Not Yet Rated. He is currently working on a dissertation on independent horror, horror film festivals, and horror fandom; feel free to contact him to discuss any of the above! He is also studying Dark Carnival Film Festival (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com).

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