House of 9

DVD Reviews | Mar 26th, 2006

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Starring Kelly Brook, Dennis Hopper
Written By:
Directed By: Steven R. Monroe
Studio: Visual Entertainment
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Nine random strangers are snatched off the street and drugged. They awake in a large house that looks like a blue-tinted hotel lobby, and a disembodied Saw-like voice drops the 411: that the strangers are part of a game-slash-human experiment, that they must kill each other and the sole survivor walks out with $5 million. Meanwhile, hidden cameras are recording their every action.

Reacting in typical horror movie fashion, the strangers briefly attempt to work together and escape, even bonding over a hip hop jammy jam, only to have flaring tensions, greed, and irrationality take over all too quickly. It doesn’t help that this random human sample includes diametrically opposed stereotypes the hero-wannabe white cop and the angry black guy, the calm priest and the hot-headed European guy, the bitchy girl and the slightly bitchier girl, and the most diametrically opposed pairing in the world, the married couple.

House of 9 steals from some great source material And Then There Were None, Cube, Battle Royale, and umm… the Real World.* Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the writing, acting, or likeable characters to keep the audience guessing or even interested. The movie is derivative and it looks and feels derivative, and for a supposed thrilling whodunit, it has a remarkable lack of suspense.

The worst part of the production, though, is the weak payoff. When characters finally get around to offing each other, you won’t exactly gasp. Murders are accidental or otherwise boring (beatings, strangulation, electrocution, shootings with the magical gun of never-ending bullets, etc.). You won’t see any creative fatalities using random objects a la Battle Royale, except for a corkscrew scene, which is also a letdown. I’m not a fan of gore, but give me a break. I’ve seen more graphic violence on ER. Hell, I’ve seen more graphic violence on Scrubs.

House of 9 does have two redeemable qualities its very funny and dare I say cool? ending, and Dennis Hopper as a priest. Not since Harvey Keitel in From Dusk Til Dawn has such a nutty actor been cast in such a pious role. All we need now is Christopher Walken to be a Man of God and we’ll hit the trifecta.**

Fans of Cube MIGHT (keyword: MIGHT) think this movie is decent. Fans of Saw and other twisted thriller/horror movies will kill themselves trying to escape this house of crap.

* Also, the cop looks like Dante from Clerks, but I think that’s just coincidence.
** Yes, I know Walken was a former priest in 1997’s Touch, but who the hell saw that movie?

Theatrical Trailers (whoop-de-do)

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color

They claim to have English subtitles, but it wouldnt work for me. Yes, I like to keep subtitles on – it makes me feel literate when I’m watching shitty movies.

Favorite Scenes:
Rating: R
Running Time: 88 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: