Found footage horror films get a bad rap a lot of the time but when they are done well, well worn tropes aside, they can be effective and entertaining. I found (yes, I went there) Hell House LLC to be both.
A seasoned crew of Halloween haunted house creators decide to step out of New York City they choose Abaddon as their location. A disused hotel is their site and they go about preparing it for their Halloween season, documenting their progress with, you guessed it, video cameras. However, this is sandwiched between what looks like archive news footage and handheld haunted house tourist footage of before and after the opening night’s events.
From start to finish you get told of something horrendous happening, people injured and dying in that hotel but you have to wait until the end of the film to piece it all together as the investigating documentary crew, having interviewed the one survivor of the crew, go back to the house to investigate more.
During the preparation phase there are numerous spooky and unexplainable things going on, all caught on camera, that were very effective at spooking me out, namely inanimate (creepy, fucked up) clown mannequins changing position and location. Other well made set pieces also worked well to create a sense of terror or fear for what is going on. The documentary style, interviewing of locals etc, took the film away from the main crux of what was, I felt, the best part of the film. The first hour or so worked really well, building it up only for the ending to not quite live up to the previous good work. As far as found footage films go though, this is a solid piece of work and genuinely creepy.
Horror Rating: ★★★½☆
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆