When an impenetrable fog rolls
in effectively closing an old country road it strands a group of people
at an old house. Some of the people know each other and are involved
in a big business deal, while others are strangers. Together they
are forced to deal with the creaky old house and itís lone inhabitant,
a beautiful but strange young woman. The tension and panic slowly
builds as they realize there is a large mysterious figure stalking the
grounds outside the house. Not only that but they begin to suspect
that something is terribly wrong with their host who speaks of witchcraft
and vampirism. Unfortunately before anyone understands what is
going on the house is filled with bodies.
This is a strange little movie
that I hadnít heard of until I picked it up recently. I have
to say that my expectations were low, but I found myself enjoying the
movie. The story seems to be a straightforward supernatural plot
with mentions of vampires and witches. Early on one of the characters
is even chased thru a cemetery by a couple of mysterious shuffling creatures.
I was all prepared for the eventual bloodbath by undead, which is where
the movie really threw me for a loop. I wonít give any more
spoilers here, other than to say that the movie isnít at all what
I expected it to be and has an entertaining twist at the end.
The cast is made up of European actors that will be mostly unknown to
most American audiences. But many of them are veterans of the
genre and do a fine job here. One of the main reasons that the
movie worked for me would be the performances, which helped to sell
the tension and fear. I suppose some of the performances could
be considered over the top. But I like the how the actors played
their parts and how nicely they fit with the overall vibe of the movie.
The atmosphere in a movie like
this is key to whether it will work for an audience or not. The
filmmakers did a fine job creating a sense of foreboding and tension
that slowly builds thru the movie. The setting of the house is
excellent. Unlike many similar movies this house is quite small
and creates a feeling of being trapped. Also the house is cluttered
with creepy paintings and knickknacks that hint at something sinister.
The use of fog in this movie to create a surreal feel where nothing
seems quite right is nicely done as well. I also wanted to mention
the music, which is appropriately creepy and pegs this movie as a European
production (which I dig).
Now I donít want to give the impression that this movie is a classic. It is in fact a knock off on the popular films of guys like Bava or Argento, and doesnít quite measure up to their work in Giallos. But at the same time it is still an entertaining movie that I give a lot of props to for trying to be different. If you can track down a copy it should be pretty cheap and worth every penny. I got my copy on the Mill Creek 50 drive-in movie box set.
If you dig European horror
check this one out.
Rating - **1/2
-John "El Juan" Shatzer