I recently came across House Of Bones is a second-hand DVD shop when I was looking for a few horror films to partake in a horror movie night and I found myself pleasantly surprised. House of Bones is a 2010 Syfy supernatural horror film directed by Jeffrey Scott Lando, an avid horror film maker. Although, House Of Bones is clearly not the perfect horror film, it does give justice to the television/straight to dvd film.
The film begins in 1951 which sets up the mysterious premise of the haunted house when a boy gets dragged in by a supernatural force. The film then moves into the present. A TV crew, for the fictional show entitled Sinister Sights, come to film the house along with psychic Heather Burton (played by Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel’s Charisma Carpenter). Heather gets a bad vibe from the house as soon as she approaches it but the rest of the crew are unwilling to believe her until it is too late and the house will not allow them to leave. When the house begins to play mind games with the crew, they realise that what the house needs is to be fed.
The premise of the film shows striking similarities to the 2002 film Halloween Resurrection which follows reality contestants in the childhood home of Michael Myers. However, I think that this film holds up better than the eighth Halloween sequel mostly because House Of Bones seems more self aware of the conventions that it is playing with. It uses surveillance cameras to ensure that the reality television aspect of the narrative is believable but it does not over do it. Surveillance is an idea that is prevalent throughout the horror genre and one of the cameras in the film is named Chucky, a direct reference to Child’s Play. Despite the fact that the film feels slightly undeveloped, the cast manage to make it watchable and are able to keep it serious at times when it feels almost appropriate to laugh. One problem with the film is that although the cast are good, none of the characters except from Heather are remotely likeable. The presenter’s ignorance of what is happening is often laughable at times whilst Corin Nemec’s role is completely pointless.
House Of Bones pokes fun at horror reality television shows such as “Ghost hunting with…” as well as conventions of the haunted house. However, unlike other famous houses of the genre, the film fails to build a character in the house itself. The film received fairly negative reviews by critics when it was released although I think it is fair to say that House of Bones provides an interesting satirical perspective on haunted reality television shows and is often entertaining at times.