Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Snuff's Enough: "The House With 100 Eyes" (2013)

Once again, a serious opening credits crawl tells us that this film was assembled from "found footage"...damn it...

Ed (Jim Roof) and Susan (an actually pretty good Shannon Malone) run a fringe DVD production house called Studio Red. They concentrate on videotaping snuff films out of their specially built home. This time around, Ed is determined to get his masterpiece- three kills in one night. The "100 eyes" of the film's title refers to all the cameras they have installed around the house to capture the action. The couple goes trolling for two females and one male in Hollywood, then Skid Row, eventually coming home with Crystal (Liz Burghdorf), Clutch (Andrew Hopper), and Jamie (Larissa Lynch). The three teenagers were promised $500 to shoot a porno movie, but Ed and Susan's perfect night begins to unravel when Crystal gets cold feet and wants to leave. Eventually, the blood and mayhem begins, but Ed and Susan may finally be in over their heads with such an ambitious task, all of which is captured for our viewing pleasure.

Roof also wrote and co-directed the film. His performance as Ed is alright, he is most of the reason this is labelled as "darkest comedy." Ed narrates mundane events as he and Susan prepare for the murders, and throws a tantrum the minute things don't go his way. I don't know if it was scripted or not, but I liked how Susan was necessary to Ed's life, finishing his sentences and making sure her husband is happy. Ed doesn't seem to be as into this sick marriage as Susan is (as we will find out), and I think the strongest scenes were between Roof and Malone interacting as a marital unit- whether it be eating dinner, or hunting people in the house.

A huge problem with the "found footage" idea is that out of the fifty-plus videotapes and DVDs "found," the "unsuspecting" film makers edited this massive amount into a story that runs an hour and sixteen minutes. Much like the terrible "Amber Alert," why is anyone who is "finding" this footage editing it to begin with? If this had been passed off as a Studio Red production, that might have made more sense. The gore effects are very good, the violence is brutal, but even at seventy-six minutes, I was checking the running time and wondering when the extreme violence and dark humor was going to begin. Co-director Jay Lee does a good job of editing what must have been a large amount of footage thanks to so many cameras.

I have seen much worse found footage/point of view horror, and I really wish this trend would go ahead and die out. So many of these stories, including this one, would be much scarier if it was shot as a straight linear horror film. "The House with 100 Eyes" delivers some good gore and performances, but little else. (* *) out of five stars.