Way back at FrightFest last year From a House on Willow Street stood out to me as a fun action packed horror flick powered along by some excellent performances and effects and now almost a year later its finally getting a full release as it duly deserves.
Opening with the kidnapping of Katherine (Carlyn Burchell) a rich girl from a posh looking house located on, you guessed it, Willow Street, by a band of criminals out for some easy money the film quickly unfolds when the gang fails to get an answer to their ransom request.
Return to the aforementioned abode they finds things inside to be a whole lot creepier than they expected. Plagued by odd noises and shadowy visions the unwitting kidnappers end up finding Katherine’s parents horrifically murdered forcing them to flee and plunging their plan into disarray.
However this is the least of their worries as things start to get more terrifying and visions from each of their pasts return to not only haunt them but do some real damage as well. At the center of it all seemingly stands Katherine but is she a victim or a villain?
Although not imbued with originality plot wise seeing as this set-up has been played out in a variety of ways in horrors over the years (including recently in The Ransom of Rusty Rex segment of Tales of Halloween) what propels From a House on Willow Street above other horrors is the tight pacing which keeps things moving along providing plenty of scares along the way mixed in with some excellent action and horror make up and effects.
The cast as well do a fine job with the gang members played by Steven John Ward, Zino Ventura, Gustav Gerdener and You’re Next’s Sharni Vinson all crafting characters less 2D than would be expected in such a story. Best of all is Carlyn Burchell playing a creepy teen terror who can seemingly switch between innocent and insane at will making her captors constantly question who is really in charge.
Director Alastair Orr has a good eye for horror and although the last act doesn’t live up to the opening Orr and his fellow script writers Catherine Blackman and Jonathan Jordaan manage to entertainingly fill in all the back story blanks leaving some room in my opinion for the start of a franchise even if the film found a solid fan base.
Silly and fun From a House on Willow Street won’t blow your mind but it will keep you amused and hopefully make you jump as well, making you more happy you came to visit this ominous address and its owner than the characters are for sure.