Directed by: Dan Turner
Starring: Katherine Flynn, Grant Masters and Patrick Flynn
When you first sit down, waiting to check out a new horror film you hope that it’ll either scare the hell out of you, disgust you, make you feel uncomfortable or all of the above. You would hope “Stormhouse” would fall into one of those categories but it instead falls into the ‘unintentionally funny’ sector.
“Stormhouse” centers on a secret underground military base where a group of soldiers have captured a dangerous paranormal entity. When they bring in the overly-bubbly American Hayley Sands (Katherine Flynn) to communicate with the entity, everything goes haywire at the complex as the spirit decides it wants to “play.”
The blueprints of a ghost suddenly attacking a group of people in a single building isn’t anything new, but what tends to make films like “Paranormal Activity” stand out in that aspect is the way that they’re approached. “Stormhouse” takes a couple of notes from that franchise and unsuccessfully tries to format that into a this-could-be-real kind of story line that fails to go any further in that form after the opening credits. The story structure isn’t much to brag home about and the big climax comes off as laughable more than anything else, especially when at one point the entity decides it was to inhabit a basketball (no joke).
If you wanted to find the right examples as to how possible it is to act over-the-top in your role then look no further. The main cast struggles to give it their all but just deliver below to average performances, also at times falling into the unintentionally hilarious sector which nobody likes to be a part of, unless you’re using it to your advantage like Tommy Wiseau. At least some of them come off as believable when they’re being ripped to shreds by an unseen entity but then again it’s easy to do your best when the makeup does most of the work for you.
If it was intentional on director Dan Turner’s half to not have the audience be able to see a good percentage of his own movie then bravo. The need to create some form of atmosphere through lighting is understandable, but when you’re practically turning off those monstrous lights in order to do it that just does not work. The need to try and mimic the feel that the “Paranormal Activity” and “Saw” films were able to capture isn’t necessarily the best choice. The overall direction felt picked off from several other movies in an attempt to create something original that felt anything but that. Better luck next time.
Maybe the lighting should have been saved for the technical part of this review but it had to be talked about sooner rather than later. The gore and grotesque scene with a man’s limbs literally being torn off of him are effective but aren’t spectacular either, more so just hit the average bar as to what you expect to see from a horror film of this caliber.
In the end there isn’t any certainty as to what “Stormhouse” was trying to achieve cinematically or story-wise. It’s like one of those pieces of chewing gum that loses its flavor a minute after you popped it out of your mouth. You end up with a dry feeling that’s uncomfortable and tasteless that makes you want to spit out the gooey remains immediately.