House on Elm Lake follows a young couple and their daughter as they move into a remote house on a beautiful lake. As the family tries to get themselves organized, it becomes apparent that there’s something wrong with the house. Both Eric (Andrew Hollingsworth) and his daughter, Penny (Faye Goodwin), start to get sick and see things that aren’t there. As the family implodes, Eric’s wife Hayley (Becca Hirani) seeks help from both friends and spiritual advisors to try and discover the truth about what’s happening to her family and the dark history of the house on Elm Lake.
This section will be brief, as there are only a handful of things I liked about this film. First off, there was some actually creepy imagery in the film, most of which involved arms coming out of objects that normally don’t have them.
Most of the kills in the movie are nothing special, but two of them are very solid. I have a phobia involving damage being done to my eyeballs. Let’s just say there was one death, in particular, that was very hard for me to watch. I didn’t have my hopes up for any decent gore, but these two deaths delivered far more than I expected.
Finally, I do appreciate how dark this movie is willing to get. I don’t know if the film quite earned the right to, but I always appreciate when a film is willing to kill off a kid and go down to the darkest levels of humanity. It didn’t always work, which I will get into shortly, but I appreciate the attempts.
This movie is one of the least original films I’ve seen in some time. Have you seen The Amityville Horror? Then you’ve seen this movie. It’s a typical haunted house/demon possession flick. This film doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before. Not only is the film completely unoriginal, but the execution is vastly underwhelming. It’s just not that good.
Hirani and Goodwin play the mother and daughter respectively and do fine during the horrific parts of the film, but the first act consisting of setup and family life scenes are pretty terrible. They aren’t remotely convincing and Goodwin comes off as not only fake but irritating as well.
Both Hirani and Hollingsworth look like they are in their late 20’s, maybe early 30’s while their daughter looks 12. When they first introduce them, I figured Goodwin was playing Hollingsworth’s little sister who they had to raise after the death of her parents. Nope. She’s actually their daughter. Unless they were like 15 when they had her, I don’t believe this as all. They never say they were THAT young, so all I can assume is this was sloppy casting. I didn’t buy it for one second.
Finally, as I said above, this film gets very dark. Children die and there is more than one scene with rape in them. This movie dives right into the darkness, but it simply isn’t a good enough movie to have these scenes. House on Elm Lake is not an enjoyable film and when it suddenly went into rape scenes, I just wanted to shut it off. I get what they were going for, but they failed in their execution. It took a boring experience and made it gross, but not in a fun way.
House on Elm Lake Overall: 3/10
There are a few creepy visuals in this film, two solid deaths, and I have to give them some props for trying to get dark, but this movie is simply an uninteresting version of the movie we’ve all seen dozens of times. The acting isn’t great, the casting was all wrong, and the movie simply isn’t good enough to get away with going as dark as they do. I cannot give this any sort of recommendation. Don’t visit the House on Elm Lake.
If you want to check it out, it’s available to rent on Amazon and is also included if you have Prime.