Plot: What’s it about?
Claire (Meghan Ory) has always struggled to move the past behind her. But as a child, she lived in a foster home with several other children, a home in which violence would erupt. Although her memory fades in and out, she knows she was the lone survivor, as the other children were murdered by the foster mother. Now as an adult, Claire still tries to move on, but finds herself unable to cope with what happened. Her therapist has encouraged her to return to the home, hoping the visit would unlock her memories and help her to leave it all behind her. At the same time, the macabre tale of the house has drawn the interest of a haunted house kingpin (Jeffrey Combs). He wants to hire a group of young actors to perform inside its walls, a group that happens to include Claire. But will the return to her childhood home be the key to letting go for Claire, or will she only uncover more evil?
I was drawn to Dark House because of two elements, a solid premise and the presence of Jeffrey Combs. I was not disappointed in either regard. Of course the holographic haunted house is more of a fun premise than a practical one, but that’s what I wanted here, entertainment. And since the movie has an obvious sense of humor about itself, it works quite well. As far as Combs, well he is in fine form in Dark House. He devours the script like a ravenous madman, in a role that seems tailor made for him. He is so much in this film, while his co-stars sometimes even take a page from his book. Meghan Ory channels her inner victim in grand fashion, but the others are more or less fodder, so they’re not as fleshed out. The bloodshed is good, but the CGI is abundant and rarely effective, which is a shame. Dark House is by no means a masterpiece of horror, but it is fun to watch and Combs’ turn alone warrants a rental, so it earns a recommendation.
Video: How does it look?
Dark House is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The visuals here are solid, with good detail and depth. The film’s darker scenes hold up well, thanks to smooth contrast that is stable throughout. I found colors to be a little off, but I suspect that is intended, so I can’t complain too much. All in all, rock solid treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
A Dolby Digital 5.1 option is here and sounds good, though not great. The more tense scenes could have used an audio boost, but they never really deliver much impact or dread. Even so, the basics are well covered and I noticed no glaring issues. The dialogue is clear and the screams are loud, so that’s all good. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes an informative commentary track with the director and a producer, as well as the film’s trailer.