Believing they have the perfect plan for the crime that will solve all their problems, Hazel and a group of criminals decide to kidnap a millionaire’s daughter with the intentions of collecting a big ransom. At first it seems that the hit was a success when they manage to take the girl from her house, however, the crooks note that there is something off with her, and that the whole thing was a little bit too easy…
Feeling that they are running out of time, Hazel and her accomplices try to intimidate Katherine, their victim, in order to create a video for the ransom, but the girl clearly is not afraid of her captors, instead she tells them that they made a fatal mistake by kidnapping her. At first the criminals think the girl is bluffing, but when their calls for the ransom get no answer, they start to suspect that something is amiss and when they go to the girl’s house to investigate, they realize that they are in fact the victims of something way more evil than them.
“House on Willow Street” has a very interesting premise, mixing very effectively the tones of two different genres, although if you saw “Tales Of Halloween” is possible that the twist in the plot might remind you a segment of that anthology. Still, this movie has several things that works in its favor, sadly, I can’t go to much into detail due to possible spoilers, so I’ll tread carefully.
It is clear very early on the film that Katherine is not really “all there” and some strange symbols found in her house are a big clue for the apparent calm and silence at the residence when she was abducted, and also a hint that maybe our friendly crooks arrived a little too late to the party, so to speak. As the time goes by, each one of the kidnappers starts to have visions of someone (or something) from their past apparently with the intentions of settling an old score, and although the criminals just wanted to collect the ransom and make a clean getaway, they start to realize, courtesy of a demon that feeds on sorrow and regrets, that they are things worse than jail.
The film has good special effects and the pacing of the plot is fast and steady at the beginning, unfortunately, about half the film, just when we are getting the idea of what is the problem with “the victim” the pacing turns very slow. Although we see several ghost and specters with very good make up and especial effects, the tension of their moments gets lost due the use of the (already tired) loud sound technique, surely expecting for the audience to jump on their seats. Personally I think it took the power and tension from the scenes and what we had on the screen could worked great without relying on that cheap resource.
And here is where I need to get a little bit into spoiler territory in order to point one of the problems I had with the film:
I liked a lot the idea of the entity behind Katherine and its story, but the film falls into a resource that always takes me out of the movie when I see it: At a point on the film we see Hazel and her group getting a revelation thru a video found on Katherine’s home, and we are supposed to be watching what they are seeing in the video, however, we see several scenes shot in the traditional way with several angles, something that would be IMPOSSIBLE to be recorded with only one camera. I will admit that those scenes are impressive, but again, it would not be possible to be the result of a recording made in a single shot with one camera.
On the acting side I have no complaints, I do believe that although the plot tried to give each character some time for us to understand what element of their past is chasing them, at no moment we are given a motive to feel empathy for them (Maybe with the exception of Hazel, and even that, is a stretch) in order for us to wish they can get out alive from the situation they fell into, even when they might not deserve to be possessed and violated by a spiked tongue/tentacle (Hey, I said the film had some cool good moments)
In conclusion, “The House On Willow Street” (also known as “FROM a House On Willow Street”) is an entertaining film, with good special effects, well directed shots, nice editing and music, interesting plot and a cool twist, but also it looses some steam near the third act, has too many unnecessary jump scares and have characters that don’t fully connected with me. It is worth watching if you want something without a complicated plot, but with some fun scares.
The movie was directed by Alastair Orr ( Who also directed another interesting film called Indigenous) and in the cast we have Sharni Vinson (“You’re Next”, “Bait”) as Hazel, the leader of the kidnappers, Carlyn Burchell (Darker Than Night) as Katherine the victim with the secret, also Steven John Ward, Zino Ventura and Gustav Gerdener.
“The House On Willow Street” is already available on VOD.