A while back I had listened to this on an Audiobook CD a time ago and I finally got the chance to watch the movie version recently. Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti cowrote this book and produce this movie as well which I find very interesting especially since many when watching a movie based off the book sometimes say: 'hmmm I wonder if this'll be true to the book'?. The movie House is certainly one of those movies which I liked certain things shown in the movie a lot and wished for certain things from the book to have been within the movie.
House, is about a recently married couple who are looking for the right road to Nashville. They are fighting in the car and don't seem to be acting like a very strong couple for having been recently married... They run into a police officer who terrorizes the husband a bit for speeding, but he's nice enough to show them a short cut. However, while pursuing this shortcut their car's tires get slashed by a trap conveniently placed in the middle of the road. They see they are not the only ones who have had this happen and look around for help. In order to escape the recent rainfall they run into an old hotel and stay the night; unaware of the terrors about the take place physically, mentally, and even spiritually...
When it came to listening to the audio book I liked much of the book considering the suspense and the allegories going on within the story I'd probably give the book itself a 4 out of 5 stars. I felt the movie captured much of the book well, and I thought much of the acting was very good especially from Michael Madsen. However, there were some things sacrificed from the original book which I felt should have been in the movie as well. For the sake of not spoiling this for others I won't get into my thoughts too deeply other than I felt they should have been more specific in the movie of who Susan, the house itself, and the sherif represented... I felt they weren't specific enough partially in order to try to make the unsaved, horror film crowd happy and that disappoints me a bit. Overall this wasn't a terrible movie, but I mainly take away two stars because of how they could have been better to the book and simply because I'm not much of a horror film fan.
I've been a huge fan of Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker's House from the beginning, but I was both excited and hesitant to see the movie when it came out; I've been burned by cinematic rehashings of beloved novels before. I finally bought this movie because I had the opportunity to work on a senior seminar, semester-long research and analysis paper in the "horror genre" - luckily for me, the assignment was very open.
First-off, if you're interested in this movie at all, don't be too put off by the "R" rating. It my no means deserves that classification when compared to the language, gore, and behavior exhibited in most R-rated movies. I am not really a fan of "scary movies," but visually speaking, House isn't all that frightening. Granted, the victims of the house are, quite literally, descending into their own personal Hell, and each of them is tormented by dark pasts and the dark taint of sin inside their own hearts. It /is/ a scary movie based on a novel that turns the human heart and its sin nature inside out; it's a painful representation of the most horrifying and hopeless state of being any follower of Christ can imagine: to be without hope.
As a movie, the filming and effects are well done, and the acting is, for the most part, fair. Madsen, though not the Barsidious White/Tin Man I imagined, makes an interesting villain - his voice is the role's saving grace. Rosales' portrayal of Jack Singleton is the highlight for me, as he comes off more naturally. Davis' portrayal of the movie's version of Randy had a few highpoints - I feel that the actor did what he could with the script. I am not impressed at all with Dippold's Stephanie, however, and Emery as Leslie falls almost as short.
For me, the movie's major failing is the fact that it is based on an excellent novel - and I would like to insist that you read the book before seeing (and regardless of what you think of) the movie. The movie is not a bad way to spend an hour and a half of your day (or night), but overall, your efforts would be rewarded ten-fold by spending the afternoon with Peretti and Dekker's book, rather than this film. The movie script misses out on the vital internal dialogue of the characters that makes the book powerful - and frightening. The things that are missed tend to gloss over the spiritual message and commentary made by the book. Very few, if any, of the plot changes are for the better, and as a fan of the novel, the omissions were disappointing.
On the whole, I think this movie falls firmly under the category of "typical book movie disappointment" - so if that's your expectation, it will meet it, no problem. It's not an awful film, but it's not incredible either. It is a reworking that is likely, if not guaranteed, to be disappointing to fans of the novel - think of it as a footnote bonus and a slight reinterpretation of a novel that exists best on its own.
Really? This is where we are in the body of Christ now that we need slightly sanitized versions of Stephen King? My wife and I had to turn this movie off half way through it. It was occultic and disturbing. I told her I actually felt dirty from having watched it. As someone who did not grow up in a Christian home and who loved scary movies prior to my coming to Christ it just baffles me that Christians are trying to entertain one another with occultic horror films. Aside from the occultic nature which was, quite frankly, offensive, the movie was rather poorly made. Over all bad experience for us. I don't usually turn movies of half way through but I did with this one.