DIRECTOR: Lewis Abernathy
Author Roger Cobb is in a housing dispute with his stepbrother Burke over the house that's been left in Roger's name by their late father. He plans to renovate the house with his wife and daughter. Burke, however, is under the thumb of the local chemical plant owner who wants to demolish the house so he can build a chemical plant on the property. When Roger is killed in a car accident, his wife and daughter move into the home and strange things begin to happen. Is the house haunted or is it Roger looking out for his family?
Going into House IV: The Repossession with the knowledge that original star William Katt had returned to the franchise that he helped start. I had very high hopes for the last movie in the series. After the terrible sequel House II: The Second Story and the darkly violent House III: The Horror Show. I hoped that with the William Katt's return meant we would get something along the lines of the first movie. I was praying that we would get a possible return to the original House and an array of gruesome hags coming after our protagonist. Boy, was I mistaken?
The film starts out by introducing us to original star William Katt. He's back as Author Roger Cobb, but in this movie, he feels a lot different. He's still the loving family man, only with House IV he's got an entirely new life with a new wife and a daughter with no explanation of what happened to his son from the first film. We are simply thrown into this new story with no detail of what has taken place since the incident from the first film. The audience is just expected to jump on board and not ask questions as to what happened to his entire life since the previous events.
As quickly as Roger Cobb is given back to us fans of the original film. He is then taken away again just as swiftly in one of the biggest cop-outs I've witnessed in a movie in a very long time. I'm all for killing off important characters if it serves the story, but it doesn't feel like that in House IV: The Repossession. A twist, later on, gives his death a little more weight but with only five minutes of screen time, it's a slap in the face to the audience. He's only there to be that one single connection to the original film.
Now that they've gone and killed off the only connection to the first film. We are now introduced to Roger Cobb's new family. We have his rather weak-willed wife and their wheelchair-bound daughter. The wife manages to grow as a character over the course of the film. It's just a shame the same can't be said about the daughter. Here we have a character that spends the entire running time, screaming, whining and crying every time a pipe rattles in the house. By the fourth time she is yelling out for her 'mum', I was ready for a demon to pop up and drag her to hell. The performance and character are insufferable.
The true standout in House IV is actress Denny Dillon who plays cleaning lady Verna. The character begins as somewhat quite mysterious. We don't know the characters intentions as she just shows up out of nowhere. Once it's revealed that she is simply the cleaning lady with a kind demeanour but a take-no-shit attitude, she became the highlight of House IV for me. I really enjoyed that the film didn't turn her into a villain and instead went the route of being a friend to the daughter and wife. I thought the girl power in this film was one of the best elements.
House IV is sadly suspense and blood free. House IV feels very similar in tone to House II. The second film wasn't a horror film but instead an action adventure with zombies in it. House IV has the same sort of plot devices as the second film where the film features a totem of spirituality at its core. The only difference is that instead of this totem being 'Aztec' it's Native American. The light tone that takes up the vast majority of the movies running time is what renders this film pretty much suspense-free. Whatever jump scares that the film tries to catch the audience off guard with fall completely flat.
Once House IV rolls over the one hour mark, this is where the film tries to dish out the weirdness. There is a scene that feels like an almost homage to David Lynch or David Cronenberg depending on how you look at it. It's one of the weirdest scenes in the entire House franchise. The scene also contains one of the grossest gags I've ever seen put on celluloid. The scene itself almost made me feel like gagging myself. It has to be seen to be believed. If this film deserves any points, it's for almost making me want to throw up.
As the final film in the House franchise, I'm pretty disappointed with the overall film. I was hoping that with the return of the original star William Katt. It would improve the quality of this third and final sequel. Sadly the film is pretty much on par with House II: The Second Story. If they ever decide to remake the House series for this current generation. My only advice is to deliver a shitload of fun, gore, and violence because at least if the film is boring, we have that to fall back on. Not even the second or the fourth films could maintain that. Disappointing.
DEATH TOLL: 3
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is burnt alive in a car crash.
- Someone cuts their hands on a piece of glass.
- People are shot to death.
- A blood shower.
- An alive pizza is ground up in a sink (Marinara Sauce is shown).
Overall House IV was a massive disappointment. I had a slight glimmer of hope that maybe, we would get a film that closed this franchise off with some dignity after the dreadful sequel and the dark, gory, and depressing third entry. Sadly the fourth film is a monumental mess. It's pretty much on par with the second film which I loathed. I can now put this franchise to rest, and if I ever get curious again, I will stick with the original film. The rest of the films can be burnt to the ground. Only watch to see how wildly different all four House films are as this has to be one of the weirdest horror movie franchises ever conceived.