House of the Witch (2017) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

House of the Witch (2017) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on October 10th, 2021 | Movie Review | Witches, Supernatural, College, Haunted House, Witchcraft

Add House of the Witch (2017) to your Watchlist

Add to Watchlist

You need to login or register to add this movie to your horror watchlist.

It’s about an abandoned mansion with a supernatural occupant intent on various forms of human butchery for any intruders. Especially teenagers out for some fun.

House of the Witch was directed by Alex Merkin (House of Bodies). It stars Emily Bader (Stalked by a Reality Star) and Darren Mann (Even Lambs Have Teeth) who lead an ensemble cast of other teens.

Will teenagers trapped in a haunted house escape the nemesis which lurks within?

House of the Witch Review

It’s not fair to label House of the Witch a “bad” film per se. “Clumsy” might be more apropos. 

It’s clumsily scripted, predictable, and somewhat dull. But it’s not bad, for the most part, although the conclusion is baffling. I’m still not sure what the filmmakers were trying to convey in the last ten minutes of the film. And I was so weary of it that I didn’t have the energy to re-watch it. 

The first act of the film sets up the teenage characters in their small-town environment. It’s endearing and even moderately compelling. You start to sympathize with the two leading actors, Shane and Lana, and their back stories. Then we move to the haunted house, and the oddly chosen exterior shots reveal that the house is not your archetypal gothic mansion. Rather surprisingly, it is a large brick structure – a faux Colonial, I believe – on a treeless lot. Savor this because it’s the last surprise. Once inside the house, the film lapses into overly-predictable mode. 

Perhaps the film’s most grating fault lies in its script, which insists on both showing describing almost every scene. A chair moves. A character nudges her companion: “The chair. It moved.” 

A goo perspires from the wallpaper. Character: “Something’s dripping from the walls.” 

We enter a kitchen with pots and pans and food akimbo. Character: “If this place is abandoned … who’s cooking?!” 

It’s not a spoiler to reveal that the menace lurking inside is a witch. The title itself lets that out of the bag. But once the kids put two and two together from clues left right out in the open and realize a witch inhabits the home, they have to keep reminding us, in case we’ve forgotten, with lines like “There’s a witch in the house, remember?!”

After a fairly promising beginning, the film stalls. The CGI is cringe-worthy. The make-up is worse. Dax, a black character (the black character), develops a skin condition that gets progressively worse minute-by-minute. Perhaps this is a social comment on teens’ obsessions with acne and skin care, I’m not sure. I didn’t feel sympathy for the character. But I felt bad for the actor with make-up that looked like it had been applied with a spatula and barbeque tools.

Worth Watching?

Yes, but only if your goal is to introduce a young person to horror films and you want to ensure they’re not scared. In that case, this might be the perfect film for you! 

House of the Witch Review (2017) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

Would it Kill You to Subscribe?

Get horror news, reviews and movie recommendations every Friday!

We respect your email privacy