3/10 I’m not entirely sure how writer/director Neil LaBute continues to have his movies greenlit since some of his past work like 2006’s “The Wicker Man” or 2010’s “Death at a Funeral” have been widely mocked, criticized or completely forgotten. The man doesn’t have any truly great films under his belt but I guess if you keep your budget small, garbage studios like Saban Films (the anti A24) will let you do what you want. This brings us to LaBute’s uninspired latest movie, “House of Darkness”. Generally when a movie is only an hour and a half, it flies by and remains entertaining from beginning to end. Add in some vampires and surely this must be an exciting movie going experience, right? Nope. This movie is all boring build up with very little time for payoff at the end, which is exactly how the other horrible vampire movie this year was; “The Invitation”. Like “The Invitation”, “House of Darkness” spends the vast majority of the movie setting things up, going in a completely predictable direction and with an ending you will see coming within the first ten minutes of watching. There is so much repetitive dialogue paired with the fact that Justin Long’s character (Hap Jackson) is incredibly annoying and constantly lies for no reason over little things that he could tell the truth about and you will find yourself just waiting for someone to kill this guy off. The supporting characters don’t get much development and they spend the entire movie toying with Hap when they could dispatch of him in five minutes and save us the entire movie’s run time. If LaBute could write like a Quentin Tarantino or Aaron Sorkin, I wouldn’t mind a dialogue heavy film. LaBute probably isn’t even worthy to do coffee runs for a Tarantino or Sorkin type as his dialogue will make you as sleepy as Hap after three too many drinks. As for what worked, the performances are solid and the ending was satisfying even if I saw it coming a mile away. The score was fine and I do tend to enjoy bottle movies where the movie takes place in one location. Minor victories aside, making a movie about vampires luring victims to their mansion boring is a rather impressive feat as the script drags on and on. You get more action, humor and heart in an old episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” than you get in the entire run time here. Maybe AMC’s upcoming “Interview with the Vampire” TV series can snap the losing streak of “Morbius”, “The Invitation” and “House of Darkness”. At this point I feel worse for vampire representation in movies than I do for their actual victims. This house of darkness is foreclosed.

#TakesTooJustinLong / #CrapJackson / #RedCrush / #LiveFreeOrDieScarred / #WhoWeScrewInTheShadows / #TheDauntedMansion

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