Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Halloween Day By Day: Hell House LLC 2: The Abaddon Hotel

I stumbled across the original Hell House LLC on Shudder earlier this year and found it a surprisingly effective and creepy little found-footage movie. Yes, that subgenera is alive and well and, I assume, is never going to go away.

But when done well, as is the case with Hell House LLC, the format works. Writer/Director Stephen Cognetti crafted some fine analog scares and created a frightening -- and plausible -- back story that was the basis of the film.

He takes things up a notch with this sequel,  expanding on the history of the hotel and the mythology around it. He also takes the format one step further, turning this from found footage into an actual -- kinda, sorta -- mockumentary. Does this make for a more entertaining and scary ride? Or was he too ambitious? Stick with me!

It's a little of both actually. I really enjoyed the expanded mythology and how, by the movie's end, we know exactly what is up with this hotel and its ghastly inhabitants. And I really dug how Cognetti "compiled other footage" of people's ghostly encounters there. At times this felt like one of those ghost-hunter specials on the History Channel or something.

But . . . not all the performances are strong enough to make me believe I was watching the real deal. At times I was pulled out of the experience because some of the acting just wasn't strong enough. For me, watching a movie is all about the overall experience, so this weakened some of the scares and suspense.

I still had fun with this one, and believe Cognetti has himself a nice little horror franchise here as long as he takes extra care of it. Like the first, I doubt I'll see it again, so it rates a Bad, but I'll still watch more Hell House LLC movies if they appear.

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