A House on the Bayou (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

A House on the Bayou (2021) Review

Horrorific content by christina on January 04th, 2022 | Movie Review | Supernatural, Cabin in the Woods, Desolate, Dysfunctional Family

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In an effort to reconnect and mend their relationship, a troubled couple and their preteen daughter seek an idyllic getaway to a remote mansion in rural Louisiana. But when unexpected visitors arrive, their facade of family unity starts to unravel, as terrifying secrets come to light.

A House on the Bayou premiered on Epix this past November and was written and directed by Alex McAulay (Don’t Tell a Soul). It stars Paul Schneider, Angela Sarafyan, Lia McHugh, Jacob Lofland, and Doug Van Liew, among others. Let’s unpack what else it brings to the table so you can assess whether or not it’s for you.

You are being watched by the Devil

A House on the Bayou Review

If you’re like many horror fans, a new Blumhouse film hitting the scene is always cause for celebration. And if it involves plots twists, compelling performances, and an interesting score, so much the better. A House on the Bayou is rumored by some to possess all three of those things, but does it actually deliver, or is this one of those Blumhouse creations that’s better off overlooked?

This film follows the story of your standard troubled family and opens on a marital squabble between husband John Chambers (Schneider) and wife Jessica (Sarafyan). Jessica has uncovered evidence of an affair John’s been having and is in the process of demanding a confession, which John eventually does give her. However, Jessica isn’t interested in dissolving their marriage.

Instead, she wants to keep things together for the sake of the couple’s daughter, Anna (McHugh). This leads her to plan a family retreat to a secluded bayou estate in Louisiana she has access to as a real estate agent, hoping the trip will help them move forward. Naturally, as expected in a horror movie, that doesn’t quite go as planned.

To begin with, the property itself is strange. For instance, there’s a mysterious room that isn’t represented on the property’s blueprints – a room that doesn’t open no matter what the family tries. Then there’s the matter of a strange man named Isaac (Lofland), whom Anna meets during a trip to a grocery store. Later, Isaac and his “grandpappy” (Van Liew) show up on the family’s doorstep and invite themselves to dinner.

Of course, Isaac and Grandpappy become progressively creepier as the evening wears on and the pair slowly reveal they know more about both the Chambers family and the bayou property than they really should. Mysteries and questions alike present themselves. A few surprising twists and turns give some insight into the “why” and “how” of the situation without ever explicitly spelling anything out, as well.

How you’ll feel about A House on the Bayou depends mainly on your usual take on this kind of story. The characters and plot twists are typical of the type you might expect in a Blumhouse film – interesting enough, but not terribly deep in the grand scheme of the horror genre. Some of the supporting characters – like the young Anna – don’t add much to the story and are kind of… just there. Others are equal parts loathsome, ambiguous, and intriguing – like John and Jessica Chambers, not to mention the mysterious Isaac.

However, this film gets a lot right when it comes to atmosphere. The sultry bayou setting is perfect for a story of this nature and is set off to perfection by a hypnotic synth score that adds just the right touch of dreaminess. Then there’s the way the plot never quite hands you all the answers to the mysteries at hand, allowing the viewers to fill in some of the blanks for themselves.

Worth Watching?

All in all, A House on the Bayou probably won’t go down in history as a modern classic or anything. But it does bring enough to the table to make it worth a watch. You might want to give it a look, especially if you’re a fan of Blumhouse, as it’s precisely what most Blumhouse fans would expect in the best possible way.

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