Dark House is just plain old horror fun with a splash of camp and a splash of CGI blood. It’s one of those cheesy movies that will totally entertain you if you catch it on one of the horror networks when there’s nothing else better to watch on the 300 plus channels most of us have.
No time is wasted on complex plot or character development. A group of acting students is recruited by horror icon Jeffrey Combs to work his new haunted house attraction…in a house where a bunch of little children was murdered! The thing about this haunted house attraction is that all the monsters are technologically advanced holograms, so the experience is incredibly real. Which means no one realizes when the killings are no longer just part of the show.
Holograms are also a perfect way to bring us all kinds of creepy killers and creatures instead of one specific threat, just like in Waxwork, and sort of like in the remake of Thirteen Ghosts. Dark House is like being on one of those cheap thrill horror house tours, so you can’t help but have fun with it. Especially once the holograms begin to actually kill people, bringing in slasher elements and a body count.
Fun aside, the true evil behind all this isn’t the holograms come to life…it’s this psychotic religious fanatic woman who sliced and diced all the kiddies years before. This is where this pretty light haunted house movie gets somewhat dark, with the final girl confronting her past in the house.
And then there’s actress Diane Salinger. She is brilliant at playing a psychotic crazy lady. The first time I became aware of her was in the messed up short film included on the DVD of the movie Rest Stop. Salinger’s role as a mental mom in that hella creepy short film about a freako family on an RV is amplified here, with Diane going wild! Totally awesome. Her performance is the perfect sinister twist this film needs to bring it back from the brink of fluff. She could have carried this movie herself if she hadn’t first summoned the holograms to do her dirty work.
I say they make a sequel (the ending sets it up), with Diane Salinger as the ONLY threat.