Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 255th review overall!
Mr. Pat's Video Review
Hello all! Welcome to my second video review! My first review was a movie I’d been waiting for for six months to see. Today’s movie... well it was a LOT longer than that. When I first heard about this movie, I nearly lost my mind with excitement. It was billed as the Expendables of horror. After being pushed back about 100 times, it finally landed on Netflix, so I sat down to watch...
Death House (2017) Netflix.
The reason it was compared to Sylvester Stallone’s action series was this movie was a whose-who of horror legends. It had Kane Hodder of Jason fame, Tony Todd played Candyman, Sid Haig who was Captain Spaulding, Danny Trejo from anything by Robert Rodriguez, Bill Moseley from Devil’s Rejects, Gunnar Hansen who played Leatherface, and several more Meanwhile, to show you the level of cheese in this movie, one of the inmates is a chainsaw-wielding woman who wears the skin of his victims, called, you guessed it, Leatherlace.
Despite about as perfect a cast as you can get, it’s not good. A group of agents are touring a super max prison called “Death House.” Basically it’s home the worst of the worst murderers and freaks. The goal of the prison is to rehabilitate the inmates by wiping their memories and implanting new ones. There’s a lot of intro to psychology talk that tries to make it deeper than it is but none of it works. They do set up one interesting moment with Sid Haig that could have led to something cool, but it gets dropped the second the scene ends.
There’s a lot of intro to psychology talk that tries to make it deeper than it is but none of it works.
Eventually a kid decked out in nazi gear stabs a guard patrolling the outside, he then does some instant surgery, implants a device in the guard’s stomach and just stuffs the intestines back inside. Eventually the guard gets taken to an infirmary in the prison where a doctor, played by director Lloyd Kaufman, takes it out and the device turns out to be an EMP shutting down everything, including the locks on the cell doors.
The story is batshit insane. The prison is nine levels deep, much like the Circles of Hell, the worse you are, the lower you go. All the way on the ninth floor are a group of five people called “The Five Evils.” They’re... well the name explains it, and they have somehow learned the secret of immortality. After the EMP blast, Kane Hodder, who I also met at the horror convention back in July and is also a really nice guy in real life, tries to rally the prisoners to him, only to get shot, then gutted for his efforts. He manages to shake that off, somehow apparently learning immortality as well. Hodder gets all his new friends to head down, he says the way to freedom is with the “Five Evils”, as his group heads that way, they proceed to murder everything not in an orange jumpsuit.
The movie doesn’t really even try to explain why these characters can’t die. It shows a little bio and mentions how they dabbled in the occult, but that’s it. It also doesn’t bother to explain why Hodder can’t die or what the hell Tony Todd is doing. He bookends the movie and I was left scratching my head as to why. It’s a mystery, but it’s not one I care to know more about. I mean, it’s nice seeing Todd because he’s awesome, but at least give him something better to do!
The best part of this movie is finding the familiar faces, because it’s really the only the movie has going for it. You watch and all of a sudden it’s, “Hey, I know that guy!” Other than the momentary smile, it’s back to what doesn’t work. For one thing, it’s really dark. A lot of the action is just quick cuts in a very dark room. The cameras spinning like it’s on a top and the only thing you can make out is the beam of light from the flashlight dancing around and the occasional gun shot. Speaking of gun shots, the two agents are stuck in an elevator shaft as Hodder’s crew gets closer. They decide to hold on the cable while dropping. It would never work, but whatever, I’ve already had enough at this point, but then as they’re going down they’re shooting their guns! It’s not even a couple shots, they’re constantly shooting as zooming down like 5 floors! And to make matters worse they’re hitting their targets!
I wish so much this movie were good. It doesn’t even go into the “so bad it’s good territory”. They make a few attempts with the male agent throwing out movie quotes every so often, but it doesn’t work, this movie seems to take it a lot more serious than it should. You know there’s a problem when the movie boils down to the an explanation by Bill Moseley, “There needs to be good and evil, so we need to escape and then you need to catch us.”
3.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
Learn More: Death House (2017)