RELEASED: 2011, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 88 mins
DIRECTOR: Dan Turner
PRODUCER: Dean Fisher
SCREENPLAY: Jason Arnopp
MUSIC: Sam Watts
Katie Flynn as Hayley
Grant Masters as Major Anthony Lester
Grahame Fox as Lieutenant Groves
Munir Khardin as Salim Hassan
James Capel as Karl Matthews
Anthony Mark Streeter as Lance Corporal Rogers
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Billed as a horror film, Stormhouse begins when Hayley, an American paranormal investigator, is sent to an English military base to examine a psychic entity that was apparently captured by the US army.
It is Hayley's job to try and communicate with the entity, plus making sure it is securely contained so that it doesn't harm the military personnel at the army base. Disapproved of by the military base Commander, Hayley encounters some problems as the entity breaks loose, its influence being uncontrollable.
Meanwhile, a Muslim terrorist is brought into the military base and tortured by the Commanding Officer.
First of all, the title Stormhouse I believe is misleading as to the film's content. It implies to me that it may be a tale of the supernatural set in a creepy old house while a tempest rages outside, but no....the whole proceedings take place inside of a dark, dismal military base somewhere in the UK.
From beginning to end, Stormhouse is absent of any 'grab' factor and I found the character of Hayley to be exceedingly irritating. She also appeared not to know what she was doing when attempting to analyse the whys and wherefores of the captured supernatural entity, yet continued her almost bumbling work under the critical eye of the Commanding Officer, a borderline psychopathic individual who is surly beyond belief.
Much of Stormhouse is shot in darkness, this removing any vague element of appeal the film may have had....if it did have it, then I blinked and missed it. For me, it is very important to actually be able to see what is happening on the screen in any film, and I am totally unable to comprehend why certain modern-day directors insist on turning the lights out. During large swathes of Stormhouse, it was so dark that I may just as well have been sitting looking at a black screen.
The supernatural entity is even less convincing than that which I've seen in many 10th rate horror movies....the ridiculousness of which is compounded several thousand-fold by it continually singing the old traditional French song, Frere Jacques. That may make anyone reading this review wonder if Stormhouse is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but I promise it isn't. It is a deathly serious film which is heavy, grim, depressing and dark....yet, devoid of any kind of interest factor.
The music is pretty typical of that used in films of this nature which are a sort of a crossover between horror and sci-fi, it being avant garde orchestral offerings, and it is quite overbearingly loud in parts.
For 99.99% of the time whilst watching Stormhouse, I felt as if I could die of boredom, yet stuck with it in case something interesting happened....and, it didn't. However, there is a very tiny piece about 15 or so minutes before the end which I felt was fairly well done - as it's near the end, the most I can say is that the scene involved a football, yet this rather creepy occurrence isn't followed through at all. Shame, as a lot could have been made out of that and it honestly was the only part of the film which held any appeal at all....probably lasting less than a minute's duration - that leaves 87 minutes of tedious nonsense to wade through.
The acting by the whole main cast is less than mediocre, with rather a lot of the dialogue being mumbled to the point where I hadn't got a clue what anyone was talking about. In addition to this, the parts I could make out were - as far as the script is concerned - dull, banal and occasionally juvenile. People just don't talk like that! The quality of the script bears the dubious hallmark of some of those trashy TV sci-fi offerings from the 1960s which were directed at children.
Aside from the very brief scene involving the football, Stormhouse receives a huge thumbs down from me and it isn't something I'd recommend to anybody. The dialogue is poor, the execution is shoddy, the characters are weak, the music is invasive, the supernatural entity is ridiculously unconvincing and most of the film is simply comprised of people getting bumped off, with those left behind dashing around in complete darkness trying to ward off what they couldn't even see.
My advice would be to give Stormhouse a very wide berth, that's unless you really feel the urge to waste 88 minutes of your life trying to get to grips with something that is little more than nothing.
At the time of writing, Stormhouse can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.19 to £129.00 (!)
Used: from 1p to £19.06
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~