Director: Anthony M. Winson
Cast: Michelle Darkin Price, Stefan Boehm, Penelope Butler
Production Company: Mr Stitch Films
Runtime: 95 minutes
House of Afflictions (2016) explores the idea that haunted houses are not really evil, but instead absorb pain and suffering from those who live in them. These negative emotions are then projected outward onto other people who come to the house.
In the movie, Kate Beckley (Michelle Darkin Price) was once a successful writer of crime fiction, before her daughter Julia disappeared. Kate’s attempts to return to writing are often interrupted by strange events and paranormal activity in her home. Kate is not sure if her daughter has somehow returned, or if something evil has taken over her house.
The film emits a claustrophobic vibe, since most of the events take place in only a few rooms. This feeling is amplified by the amount of time Kate spends completely alone in the house. Visitors may come and go, but Kate is almost always by herself when something strange goes down.
Many unusual camera angles are used throughout the movie, and these put the viewer in places where they wouldn’t normally expect to be. In one scene, we look down at Kate and her friend John (Stefan Boehm) from behind a chandelier. This makes them seem both small and vulnerable. It also gives the impression that they are being watched.
There are some moments in House of Afflicitions that may remind you of other horror films. A ball mysteriously bounces down the stairs in a scene that is similar to one from The Changeling (1980). A rocking horse is seen moving by itself, like in Insidious (2010), and countless other movies about the supernatural. Using these horror tropes does not lessen the impact of the movie, but instead helps to fully establish it in the genre.
Indie filmmakers can learn a lot from House of Afflictions. The use of one main location for the film cuts down on costs, and makes the movie easier to shoot. Scenes with narration are used to move the story along without having to record sound on set. The film also takes advantage of natural lighting in many scenes to reduce the need for studio lights. Most importantly, if you have a limited budget, you should focus on the story above all. House of Afflictions does that very well.
House of Afflictions certainly has its share of creepy moments, especially in the last third of the film. The movie slowly builds tension until those final dramatic events, which some may find to be a little prolonged. For others, this affliction is exactly what the doctor ordered.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…