REVIEW: Haunted House On Sorority Row

I am ride or die for indie horror films.  When I say “indie,” I’m not referring to films with only one million dollar budgets in comparison to $100,000,000 budgets.  I’m talking about the films that won’t show up on Netflix instant watch and the films that you can only find if you buy directly from the director at their convention table.  I’ve spoken many times before on the incredible experience that is the Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo.  It’s a convention devoid of guests that charge insane amounts of money for signatures because they’ve been on ONE horror related television show, but rather a place to celebrate the people that starred in the roles of yesteryear that we’ve worshiped over time.  Cinema Wasteland is also a breeding ground for some of the most unique films that would otherwise go completely unnoticed.  Thanks to the Wastelanders, I’ve been fortunate enough to come across the filmography of Ohio based filmmaker, Henrique Couto.  Couto’s filmography is composed of a wide range of genres (including a family-friendly dog Christmas film) but his strength truly lies with horror.

1501841_456241614477776_379316566_n(Joni Durian as Alex, Haley Jay Madison as Melissa, and Brandi Baird as Kathryn)

HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW may have the title of your average run-of-the-mill horror film, but I can attest that the film is anything but run-of-the-mill.  On the surface, the film follows a pretty standard formula.  A newly created Greek chapter (comprised of anti-sorority type, sorority girls) purchases a home off the beaten path intending on fixing up the house and turning it into their new home.  The house is purchased with them all knowing full well that it’s haunted (because they’re college kids and understand how to Google something) but they cannot prepare themselves for the sinister spirits that reside within.  Instead of the usual moving objects or light play, the girls are each subjected to an evil spirit that forces them to relive their most horrifying secrets, and come head on with the skeletons in each of their closets.  This force isn’t just sinister, it’s downright mean.  No amount of flying objects or unseen voices can compare to the spirit that makes you remember the terrible things we all try to wipe from our psyche.

1380153_418333368268601_428685340_n(Erin R. Ryan as Sherrie)

The title may have tricked you (and me) into thinking this was going to be some homage to the films like THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW or SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE, and you’d be very, very wrong.  The title may sound like a ton of fun, but this film is pretty hard to swallow at times.  The evil spirit within the house isn’t just a demon, its an entity that forces each of these people to deal with the very real demons that reside within them.  The characters may be somewhat archetypal, but this evil spirit pulls out the darkness from within all of these characters, and explains why each of them are the way they are.  What I found most interesting is that the female characters are hands-down better written than their male counterparts.  Despite the stigma attached to characters in ghost or slasher films, these are people that I actually grew to care about.

HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW doesn’t possess studio level sleekness and from the technical aspect, the low-budget nature of the film definitely shows through.  If you’re the type of person that cares more about technique over passion, then this sort of film is not for you.  However, if you want a dark (yet enjoyable) experience with some solid jump scares, a unique take on the haunted-house subgenre, and some unsettling storytelling, HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is right up your alley.HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is available for pre-order on Amazon
The film drops July 22nd, 2014

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