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‘The Haunting of the Murder House’ review: Horror movie entertains by keeping things simple

Plenty of job scares.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Movies Podcast!

The Haunting of the Murder House is a quasi found footage indie film that will fit into Halloween viewing plans. One October, four filmmakers decide to livestream from a murder house. One year later, the footage from that night is discovered. Obviously, filmmaker Brendan Rudnicki was influenced by 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. Except, with the exception of the synopsis, The Haunting of the Murder House is nothing like it. It is not found footage and does not even include any point of view shots. 

Instead, everything plays out like a normal movie. There is a livestream element and the setting shifts depending on the character. Considering some of the plot elements, this was definitely the best direction to go in. Social media has had an increasingly bigger role in cinema over the years. Horror films have been at the forefront, using technology to deliver social commentary along with more straightforward scares.

The Haunting of the Murder House does an excellent job of involving the in-movie audience. The chat is not Just shown, it determines the film’s direction. While not a novel idea, this seemingly small decision propels the plot forward. As expected, there are plenty of jump scares. For the most part, they work very well. The majority of the film takes place in an abandoned house lot only with flashlights. This provides the necessary atmosphere and keeps audiences uneasy about what will be seen next.

'The Haunting of the Murder House' review: Horror movie entertains by keeping things simple

Whether intentional or not, The Haunting of the Murder House takes jabs at ghost hunter type shows. The underlying purpose is to get more views and make more money. Even when things reach a critical point, there is no indication the group believes anything paranormal is happening. Sometimes audiences just want a good scare. Using a familiar setting premise, The Haunting of the Murder House is able to satisfy this need. There are some missteps along the way, but nothing that will ruin anyone’s enjoyment.

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