Film Review: Last House On Cemetery Lane

Film review:
The Last House on Cemetery Lane

The basics are: Lee is a screenwriter. He is a horror writer and he has writer’s block. So, he rents a house in the middle of nowhere to “finish” his script and strange things happen.

Ok, I can get behind that. Sounds a bit cheesy, but I like cheesy horror films. So homeboy meets up with the…realtor? Landlady? And gets the keys from her, looks around, and she mentions that oh yeah, there’s an old blind woman who lives in the attic but don’t worry about it. And she frolicks off into the sunset to do whatever.

Writer writes and mopes around before meeting a “neighbor” who is picking berries for a pie. They talk, they hang out, they go on a “date” and everything is so cute and adorable that I wonder what’s wrong.

The writer spends most of his time alone in the house and various things happen. He has nightmares, the record player cuts on, and you get ominous violin squeaks. The little old lady, Agnes, never leaves the attic.

Eventually, the guy uses a spirit board and a shot glass to figure out what’s going on. He gets into the attic and Agnes tells him that her daughter killed her friend and she protected her daughter by stuffing the body in a cupboard in the basement and sealed the basement up.  He tears down the wallpaper and voila, it’s a doorway. The daughter of Agnes is the landlady weirdo who kills her mom and goes after the writer, who in turn kills her before finding the remains of the dead woman who, surprise surprise, is the girl he’s been seeing and hanging out with (the girl he met while she was picking berries on the land)

In the morning, he locks up the house, puts his breifcase and screenplay on the passenger seat of the car, and drives off into the sunset. The screenplay is titled the same as the film and you’d expect it to end there, but no. The landlady weirdo is waiting on a new schmuck to show up and that doesn’t make any sense. The last scene should’ve been cut. It should’ve ended with the guy driving off.

I had a few issues with the film, besides it being slowly paced and all. The nightmares every night didn’t make much sense. Even as a person who frequently has nightmares, this doesn’t make much sense.

There’s a character, Agnes, who stays in the attic the entire time. The landlady is quoted as saying that she doesn’t come out and no one comes to visit her. Her door is always locked. So, how does she get food? How does she go to the bathroom? Is she dead? (no, we find out that she is not later on in the film). No one even bothers to look up at the attic windows to see if they can spot her.

Eventually, you get the feeling that Agnes is a ghost and she’s the one mucking about the place. Then you get the girlfriend, the girl who was picking berries in the beginning and then hangs out with the writer. When the writer hears Agnes’ story, he becomes greif-stricken and you realize, as he realizes, that his girlfriend is dead (or you’re like me and suspect that early on). When he finally gets the cupboard open, all you see is a skull. A dirty, old, brown skull.

Anges’ story starts 20 years in the past, when her husband died, and gives the murder of the girl, as my guesstimate is, about 5 to 10 years later. I’m really not sure because, honestly, I was trying to beat a level of Sailor Moon Drops while the whole reveal was taking place.

If it was only 5 to 10 years since the death of the girl (well, 20ish year old woman), there’d be a smell (number one) and there’d be more…gooey bits about. At least, that’s my understanding of basic human decomposition in a musty old basement with basic accidental refrigeration. This is set in England, where the temperature, from my understanding, is a bit cooler than it is over here. Summer’s not as muggy, so being stuck in a dank, dark, moist basement would’ve probably kept the decomposition process pretty slow. Slow enough to leave more than a brown skull at least.

And then there’s the whole use the spirit board by yourself thing. Ok, I get it, it’s for a film. However, for someone who’s in the middle of nowhere, how the hell did this guy get a spirit board the size of a small coffee table? And he uses a shot glass instead of a planchette. Is this normal over there?

I know that during the time when mediums started to become all the rage and the Ouija board was being created, they did have a tendency to use a glass and cards to speak to spirits, but why is that in this film?

I guess that’s there to get people intrigued in the process of speaking with entities, which is bad because you have to be really careful with that shit

Overall, I found the film to be more of a suspense film than a horror film. The screechy violin peices seemed to be put in random places. It was a very English slow burn film. Very slow. I feel like I wasted the 20 minutes of finishing up watching the film.

It’s great that they did what they could, but omg it was so slow. Like, I could probably have recited the entirety of Jabberwocky before anything of interest started happening.

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