‘Blu-ray or Bust’
HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET (2016, NR—For Mature Audiences, 86 minutes, IFC MIDNIGHT/FAT CIGAR)
Sometimes, an independent horror film is released that you truly want to enjoy—if not for the original premise, then at least for the determination of the filmmakers to stand behind a work of art they truly believe in.
Take WILLOW STREET, for instance; the idea of the film is original, and puts a fresh spin on a few different genres. Four ragtag criminals kidnap a girl with the hopes of ransoming her for a fortune in diamonds. The only problem is that the girl is possessed, and makes their lives a living hell. Original premise, right? Nifty take on both genres, blending possession and anti-hero films, right? So far, so good.
Then there are those films, low budget or otherwise, that are way too big for their britches. They overextend their vision, they start biting off (PUN ALERT!) more than they can chew. Occasionally, it is easy to overlook bad effects. Occasionally, it is even not that difficult to overlook some bad acting. And there are times that you can take the cheesy dialogue with tongue firmly planted in cheek. But then sometimes, some jackass combines all of these things, and makes a movie based on a script that was apparently written by three whackos during a weekend bender involving bath salts, dollar store tequila, and one helluva bad case of crotch-rot.
Take WILLOW STREET, for instance.
I so badly wanted to enjoy this film, and I did—for the first two minutes. By the twenty-minute mark, I was ready to turn it off. Alas, occasionally I must put myself through something akin to being dragged naked over a field of broken glass, just so I can warn you, gentle reader, to stay away. They say there is no art without suffering—well, consider this review your freaking Picasso of the Week.
I normally don’t do spoilers, but I’m tossing that idea right out the window this week. Some films are just too… okay, look: I apologize to other films if I just insulted them by categorizing this steaming pile of cat poop that the dog just threw up as an actual film. Mah bad. Here, essentially, is a breakdown of the film: four idiots kidnap a possessed chick, she kills three of them. In between the original beginning and the WTF ending, three “writers”—including the director—set up basic rules, then five minutes after letting you know what those rules are, begin making sh*t up. They totally defy the rules they just told you. Let’s try imagining how the scriptwriting process actually went down for this one:
“Okay, try this: four morons kidnap a possessed girl. Wait, no, I got it: three jackasses and a sympathetic female crook kidnap Satan—oh, dude, even better: two dumbasses, a decent actor with a penchant for making bad career choices, and a tough broad kidnap DARTH FREAKING VADER. And then, Vader has to collect four souls so he can like, come to Earth. Even though he’s already possessed someone and is already here. And even though he’s already killed four people, so the job’s already done...okay, forget I just said that part. But then we’ll, like, have a ghost come out of nowhere and start helping, because, you know, if anyone is still watching, they’ll totally buy into that BS. And then The Master of Telekinesis gets caught but has to chew his way out of handcuffs. And then we’ll draw these really gnarly (see: bad) tentacles that come out of people’s mouths and wave around for five minutes like they’re making out with the air. And then this all-powerful demon gets trapped in a van, and we’ll draw fire all over it, and then throw up the main titles like we just made art! BOOM, dudes!”
If that’s what you want to watch, then by all means. Please enjoy with your bath salts. Just do yourself a favor and don’t buy this one—if you have to see it that badly, go watch it on Netflix. Yep; three days after it was released on Blu-ray, it went right to Netflix. Wonder what the bidding war was like for this turkey… (…okay, I apologize to all turkeys that may be reading this…)
Grade: F+ (one good actor and one decent actress brought this up from an “F-“)
Special Features: Really? Like that could be a defining factor here?
Blu-ray Necessary: Oh, for the love of low budget horror films, ABSOLUTELY NOT!
-- T.S. Kummelman