Review: The House on Pine Street

House on Pine streetDirected by Aaron & Austin Keeling

Out 25 January to download, and on VOD/DVD 1 February from Second Sight

Fear What You Cannot See…

You’ve got to admire any feature that began life as a Kickstarter project, took only 19 days to shoot with each department consisting of only one person, but looks this professional. The House on Pine Street is just such a movie, capitalising on Hollywood’s perennial love of low budget ghostly goings on – as evidenced by the likes of Paranormal Activity and Oculus.

Heavily pregnant Jennifer Branagan (Emily Goss) and her husband Luke (Taylor Bottles) move from Chicago back to her hometown of Kansas following Jennifer’s mental breakdown. They take up residence in the titular creepy house, not too far away from her mother Meredith (a splendid Harpy-like turn by Cathy Barnett) who has offered to help out.

It soon becomes apparent, though, that this is no ordinary property: after the housewarming party, Jennifer thinks she sees someone who’s stayed behind, only for them to suddenly vanish; packing boxes keep moving; there’s banging coming from upstairs, and a door in their bedroom simply refuses to stay closed. Nobody will believe her about the strange occurrences, however, and not even Meredith’s chiropractor ‘psychic’ friend Walter (Jim Korinke) will back her up, despite feeling ‘something’ in the place. As things escalate, the people around her begin to think Jennifer is having a relapse and Meredith just uses it as an excuse to start interfering again. Is it all in Jennifer’s head, or is there something more sinister going on? You’re just going to have to watch to find out…

Reminding me greatly of recent movies like The Babadook and It Follows, this film handles the balancing act of whether or not it’s all in the mind pretty well – mostly due to Goss’ performance, which starts off subtly but by the end is full-on meltdown. The tagline of ‘fear what you cannot see’ is somewhat misleading, as you do see quite a bit – in spite of that lack of money – and there are some truly disturbing moments: the shower scene, for example, or the descent into the basement with friend Lauren (Natalie Pellegrini). If there’s a criticism, it’s that the film could have been a little tighter, with perhaps a good 10-15 minutes shaved off – the slow build dragging at times – and no real answers are provided (perhaps they’ve been left for the sequel or prequel?). But there’s certainly more than enough here to satisfy the more discerning genre fan.

Verdict: Will leave you pining for more from this team 8/10

Paul Kane

The House on Pine Street is available now to download, and on VOD/DVD on 1 February from Second Sight

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