In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Choose Your Own DVD Adventure Part Two

I spent a few hours with the Return to House on Haunted Hill DVD on the weekend and I must say that it was quite a fun experience. The movie itself is pretty standard, but the novelty of the navigational cinema thing really elevates its likeability.

There are seven points in the movie where you are asked to make a choice and going back over it I found three variant endings – one of which is the cinematic version of ‘your adventure ends here’ – but there may very well be more. I couldn’t however, despite much effort on my part, find a scenario where Cerina Vincent takes her top off. Curious. It usually happens so easily. This new way of watching movies is a cool feature that I hope to see more of in the future.

As for the movie itself, it’s fairly average. The visual style that I liked so much in the original seemed watered down in this one. Also, they were a little too liberal with the CG. Now, I know that the climax effects of the 1999 remake have always been a point of reference for all those haters out there, but in Return they just seemed overused. The director (Victor Garcia) has an SFX background, so I guess he made the call on that one. I just would have liked to see more practical effects. Jeffrey Combs is underutilized, as well. I thought they could have delved more into his story, but he ended up just being what the Pinhead character has been boiled down to in most of the Hellraiser sequels. He makes an appearance here and there, says a few lines and that’s pretty much it. I mean, great actors like Combs can pull off that stuff in their sleep, no doubt, but it left me wanting more is all.

Return is definitely worth checking out for the novelty at least. If you happen to have a next-gen player (it was also released on HD-DVD), get a couple of likeminded friends together, have a few drinks and enjoy the ride – any which way you want to take it.

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