Review: House on Elm Lake (2017)

Not terrible, but too many faults to make it enjoyable.

I don’t think there is ever a good time to buy a house on a lake. I mean, why would you? Yeah it might be “pretty” or have a lovely view but the main problem is you’re out in the middle of nowhere. You may have one neighbour but they are all but guaranteed to be a nut-job. The rest is miles of trees and lake. If you ever get in trouble, you’re basically screwed. But I get it, people do buy these houses. But explain this to me. Why would you buy a house on a lake where recently someone murdered their entire family and then committed suicide (Hmm, sounds familiar) I honestly do not see the logic in it, at all. It’s basically horror 101 and you’re going to die. Or maybe not. Who knows?

House on Elm Lake follows Hayley (Becky Fletcher), Eric (Andrew Hollingworth) and their daughter Penny (Faye Goodwin). They have just bought this lovely house on the lake at a rock bottom price (I wonder why) and are in love with the area. They are amazed at how cheap this place is. If it were me I would have at least done my homework before buying such a property, but hey, I have seen WAY too many horror films to at least be cautious.

It isn’t long before Eric starts having these weird dreams and visions. I won’t describe them, not because of spoilers but because there are literally no words to describe them. It was some of the most bizarre stuff I have ever seen on film, and that is saying something. As the film progresses, Eric becomes more drawn to these dreams and voices in his head. He starts to become visibly unwell or “possessed” if you must. What I found amazing is how Hayley didn’t think to get the hell out of there with Penny when she notices the behaviour of Eric. But of course, this is a film, what would be the fun in that?

One of my main issues with House on Elm Lake is that we have seen it all before. There are thousands of films about someone getting possessed by Satan or the devil and goes on a killing spree etc. The film already has a mountain to climb before it has even started just to try and be different. But then that is where other faults come in that really don’t help. The first one is the acting. I can normally forgive acting in B-Movie horrors because it’s cheesy and good fun. This film though is trying to be serious and the acting doesn’t quite work with it. Maybe if the film wasn’t as straight, it would have been fine. But some of it is a bit ropey and wooden.

The script doesn’t help matters though. Some of the dialogue just didn’t make sense and wouldn’t be said in real life. Dialogue is so important in any film and it needs to feel as if these conversations are being said for the first time and not learnt. Sadly, that wasn’t the case here. Goodwin as Penny, bless her I know she is a child and starting out, but god does she need to speak up. In nearly every scene where she spoke I couldn’t hear her and had to turn the volume up. It was mumbled and so quiet. But there were other sound issues. Some scenes had a lot of echo in. Either the sound equipment wasn’t great or there wasn’t much effort in post-production to remove it. And I don’t mean like in a cave where it would obviously echo, this was just a normal living room.

I could go on, but I think I have swung my sword enough at House on Elm Lake. It just isn’t very good. It isn’t terrible by any means. There are just too many faults that stop it from being enjoyable. Maybe wait until it is on Netflix or something. 

Discussion feed

Up next in movies