A House is not a Home (2015 ) – By Roger Carpenter


Ben Williams (Gerald Webb, Camel Spiders; 2-Headed Shark Attack; Sharknado 2) and his estranged wife, Linda (Diahnna Nicole Baxter, Shadow Puppets as well as TV’s True Blood and Scandal) are trying for a fresh start. She’s an alcoholic who drove him into the arms of another woman while he is, well…an adulterer. Along with their two teens, the couple are seeking to start afresh, and the first item on the agenda is a new home. They select a gorgeous home with an odd kitchen table (“This table belongs to the house,” says the realtor) and happily move in. Unfortunately, the house is haunted and it doesn’t take long for things to turn ugly. The family soon find themselves fighting for their lives as they try to escape from the evil spirits that reside in the house.

A house may not always be a home, but it also doesn’t necessarily make a very good movie, either. Directed by Christopher Olen Ray, son of schlockmeister Fred Olen Ray, the film just isn’t very scary. Relying on all the old tropes such as viewers seeing shadows or ghosts as characters are looking the opposite way, strange noises, and doors shutting by themselves, the film fails to generate much tension. The film attempts to up the scare quotient by bringing in a houdun, or voodoo priest, who attempts to banish the spirits from the home. The priest ends up getting killed while leaving the family to defend themselves from a bunch of angry demons.

While the technical aspects of the film are good—the camerawork, lighting, and sound are slick—the story itself is nothing special. And while the actors are high-caliber veterans, including veteran character actors Richard Grieco and Bill Hobbs, there isn’t much chemistry between the family while Grieco and Hobbs are limited to very small roles. One gets the feeling the two were brought in more for their names than for any contributions they could make to the production.

Overall, A House is not a Home is a tedious affair. The DVD comes with a short discussion with Olen Ray and Webb), a promotional trailer, and a cast and crew commentary, which I didn’t listen to. The film is being distributed by MVD and can be found for a reasonable price on Amazon.