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House
Our Rating
2 Stars - Fair
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Mpaa Rating
Not Rated (for some violence and terror)
Genre
Directed By
Robby Henson
Run Time
1 hour 28 minutes
Cast
Michael Madsen, Reynaldo Rosales, Heidi Dippold, Julie Ann Emery
Theatre Release
March 18, 2009 by Roadside Attractions

Director Robby Henson has scored the Christian thriller hat trick: he's now adapted three supernatural suspense novels in just three years. He started with The Visitation by Frank Peretti and then turned to Ted Dekker's Thr3e. And so, it makes sense that his third would be House, a tag-team work by Peretti and Dekker.

When the novel House released, I was curious about the brainchild of two of Christian publishing's bestselling novelists. I'd enjoyed some work by each author; knowing their strengths, I figured they'd knock the trapped-in-a-house-with-a-killer story out of the park. Not so much. Actually, I really disliked the book. However, I kept thinking: But as a movie, this could be pretty good. The book possessed good tension and eerie scenes that, if stripped of extraneous, heavy-handed narration, could make for a fast and intense ride.

So, I was glad when I heard about the film version. And I do like it better than the book (although that may not say much). It's not the scary horror film I thought it could be—or that I think the studio is trying to sell it as—but House has some real strengths. It does share some of the problems plaguing both of Hensons' critically-panned Christian films—but all three have consistently improved and House is clearly the best.

Like the book, the movie centers on troubled married couple Jack (Reynaldo Rosales) and Stephanie (Heidi Dippold) as they are on their way to see a marriage counselor. They get lost and end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, they stumble on an old inn where they meet more stranded travelers, Randy (J.P. Davis) and Leslie (Julie Ann Emery). Things get weird when they meet the family that runs the place—three odd hillbilly characters ...

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