It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Jeepers Creepers writer/director Victor Salva, and sadly this messy horror isn’t a return to form. There’s plenty going on in Dark House but there’s not much indication that anyone had any idea of how to tie it all together.
Nick Di Santo (Luke Kleintank) is blessed/cursed with the ability to see the future of those he touches. When his mad mother passes away, he inherits a mysterious house that he’s somehow been drawing since childhood. Together with his pregnant girlfriend Eve (Alex McKenna) and best friend Ryan (Anthony Rey Perez), they set out to find it. Naturally, this isn’t going to go well.
As in Jeepers Creepers, Salva displays a willingness to go big on the hokier moments. Not only do sinister characters whisper into air vents, but they also have those whispers answered by a demonic voice. There’s a collection of evil long-haired axe-murderers working as a unit, characters with names like Lillith are introduced with nary a raised eyebrow to the genre-savvy audience, and there are a lot of stunning gaps in logic.
The cast all work hard to sell the silliness as sincerity, but only Tobin Bell has the gravitas to pull that off. The Saw veteran plays the threatening current resident of Nick’s house, and provides the film of a few of its most effective moments despite his wig, but there is the distinct impression that he is better than this.
As Dark House builds towards its conclusion, Salva throws enough at the wall that some of it eventually sticks, but most of the film’s bigger twists are so determinedly telegraphed that it doesn’t even work as a curio and at just over 100 minutes it overstays its welcome. With a curtailed running time and a little more urgency, this loopy horror mash could have been a fun bit of nonsense. As it is, we’d advise steering clear of Dark House.