To say the found footage format for horror films has been overdone in recent years would be an understatement. And except a few titles (The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Grave Encounters, and a couple others), most have been pretty meh, or just plain awful. Just when I was about to give up on found footage altogether, I stumbled upon Hell House LLC on Amazon Prime streaming, and I’m glad I did because it was excellent.
Hell House LLC tells the story of a group of close friends who travel to different locations each year to produce a haunted house attraction. The group arrives in Abbadon, NY, where they’ve acquired an old hotel with a dark history to host their haunted exhibition. As opening day approaches, mysterious events plague the crew and fuel paranoia amongst them.
Hell House LLC’s biggest strength is its production quality. Writer/director Stephen Cognetti seamlessly weaves together found footage, news journalism, and YouTube footage without hitting a bump. The series of events is well-organized, and by partially revealing the film’s ending up front, the sense of dread builds as you know something horrific is looming.
Another positive for Hell House LLC is the cast. The core group of characters had a strong chemistry, and their banter felt authentic. I became immersed in their camaraderie because they all seemed like friends in real life. All of their performances were measured as well, delivering accurate emotional responses as things happened to them throughout the film, which helped build the unsettling tone.
Hell House LLC is a legitimately scary movie. It masterfully entwines fear of the dark, paranoia, and unique points of view into a strong storyline that keeps you sucked in from the start. Fair Warning: You may never want to go into a dark basement ever again after viewing this film.
Don’t. Go. In. The. Basement.
Hell House LLC is a hidden gem that deserves more respect and exposure. This is Stephen Cognetti’s most recent project, and hopefully he has more in store because he deserves praise for this film. Hell House LLC restored my faith in the found footage format, and I highly recommend it.
In addition to Amazon Prime, a Director’s Cut DVD is also available. The DVD includes:
- Director’s commentary track
- Feature film extended cut (97 minutes)
- Feature film includes recovered basement footage
- Over 30 minutes of bonus material.
- Behind the scenes video
- Deleted scenes
- Cast auditions video
- Unreleased movie trailer