Saturday, October 29, 2011

House of Blood (2006)

Olaf Ittenbach's career as a director is an interesting but usually not good one. He started out directing low-budget splatter films like "Burning Moon", "Black Past" and "Premutos: Lord of the Dead", which got him a cult following. He then graduated to doing make-up and gore effects for things like Uwe Boll movies, and directing larger budgeted movies like "Legion of the Damned", "Garden of Love" and "Dard Divorce", which were attempts at doing more mainstream friendly horror. Another one of these attempts is 2006's "House of Blood" (originally called "Chain Reaction"), which suffice to say, is pretty bad.

Dr. Douglas Madsen (Christopher Kriesa) has been taken hostage by a group of escaped convicts, who decide to take refuge in a cottage. Inside said cottage is a strange family that speaks in Olde English and also seems to double as a religious cult. The family then turns into bloodthirsty demons (is there any other kind?) and kills the criminals, but Dr. Madsen is saved by local girl Alice (Olaf's wife Martina), and ends up being interrogated by police (one of the officers is played by J├╝rgen Prochnow), and of course, they don't believe his story, so he ends up taking a bus ride to a prison with some inmates. The bus crashes, and you can guess what happens next.

I'll say this much about "House of Blood": The gore and splatter FX are pretty impressive, the cinematography is good, and Kriesa delivers a good performance. Unfortunately, he delivers the only good performance, as everyone else is terrible, mostly just shouting profanities and pointing guns at each other. They are all supposed to be from America, and this is supposed to take place here, but most of the cast speaks with Germanic accents, and it was clearly shot in Germany. Also, while the gore is effective, there isn't enough, as the viewer has to wait for what feels like a very long time for the splatter to hit-until then it's a lot talking and yelling at one another.

Then there's the fact that the direction, editing and script (which Ittenbach co-wrote with Thmosat Reitmar) are all pretty poor. If this was from a rookie director, it would be more acceptable, but Ittenbach has been making movies since 1989, and that this is his tenth movie. None of it feels like something that was directed by a man whose been making movies for seventeen years. It just feels like something directed by a hack looking to make a quick buck.

All around, this is a terrible movie, with very little to recommend. If you want to watch a movie from Ittenbach, watch one of his earlier splatter movies. Those aren't great, but at least they're directed by someone who gave a damn about what he was making.

Rating: 2/10

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