The franchise Hell House is a found footage docu-like series found on Shudder. It’s also on Amazon Prime but I think the first one is readily available? I don’t know. I watched all 3 in a very short amount of time so the viewings and thoughts are pretty fresh. Spoilers ahead? Kind of. Let’s talk about the Hell House series, directed by Stephen Cognetti and written by Cognetti as well.
Let’s jump in!
Hell House LLC, the beginning of this trilogy. I really like this one. I had no idea what to expect and going in blinded benefited from what I saw. It is a nicely done found footage entry into that subgenre and I would highly recommend seeing it if you have not. The plot is quite simple: we have a group of characters who are days away from opening Hell House, a haunted house attraction in the abandoned hotel, The Abaddon Hotel. The characters are equipped with cameras to document the process and in turn, basically all hell breaks loose on opening night. What I enjoyed is the slow build and the tension that grows within the house or interacting with the characters. I liked the characters, I like the bond, it seemed realistic like these are best friends who worked together. And I liked the air of mystery behind it, we didn’t need solid answers. The horror and scare factors were met and there are some genuinely scary moments evenly spread out. The only downside are the glitches which aren’t too bad in this one but we don’t need them. Hell House gets a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The least favorite of the trilogy, Hell House LLC 2: The Abaddon Hotel is basically a rehashing of what happened in the first one with less likeable or admirable characters. It falls flat in a lot of ways. This is the one that honestly, you could skip it because 1 and 3 have more in common with each other than number 2. The characters fell flat, the story felt flat. It seemed like all the scares that were great previously lost a lot of the magic. The highlight of the clowns from the last one, especially the main one, the black/white clown aka the one who stole the show is more active but not in the same manner. It’s walking around in the background and other scares or tense moments are held on too long or they aren’t effective. It’s a shame the movie falls below my expectations since the first one was unexpectedly fun and likeable. Hell House LLC 2 gets only 2 out of 5 stars.
The 3rd and final installment is Hell House LLC 3: Lake of Fire, found exclusively on Shudder. This movie is a big step up from the 2nd film and while it does tie in and give a conclusion at the end, it’s not a scary movie per se. It’s not on the same playing field as the first one gave. I will say I liked a few more characters in this one, I liked the story aspect which is always first in my book. I think the story (for any film) is so important and it focuses heavily on that but if you’re looking for gore or good scares, you’re not going to find it here and that’s a huge dislike. There are a couple of moments where things get very tense and the creep factor comes in, one moment in particular involves a stupid white girl named Jane and our lovely resident creep clown and that’s about it. It’s a rehashing of what happened before, nothing too new. I like the idea of Faust influences in the film but my biggest gripe of all is the goddamn glitches. I hate them so bad. It was loud, distracting and overused. I didn’t need all that. I also didn’t need to be told that there’s something or someone in the back and then you go back to show me and this jumping back and forth, I…. no.
As a few dislikes I have about this, otherwise, I thought it was better than The Abaddon Hotel, worth watching and I’d give the film a good 3 out of 5.
In conclusion, check out the first one for sure and the 3rd film. Skip the 2nd one, it really does not add to the franchise. Also, the 3rd film’s ending ties in more with the first and who gave a fuck about the 2nd one to include it in there.