A young dude is put to bed by his smoke show of a babysitter and proceeds to have a series of nightmarish visions that resemble The Wicker Man if it was directed by Clive Barker…most likely because he ditches his meds before takin’ the one way express to nighty-night junction…or so it seems. Then some punks dressed as clowns kidnap the lad (who’s name is Josh), and so House of Salem begins proper.
While the story begins with what seems like a simple kidnapping, things soon are revealed to be so much more, as our gang of big top hoodlums find they were duped into kidnapping young Josh by some sinister satanists who want to orchestrate a revoltin’ ritual involving that hoary ol’ chestnut; human sacrifice within the walls of the safe house (a home with a storied history of Satanic shenanigans). Before you know it, our hooligan heroes are up to their arses in hellish goings-on that they are ill equipped to handle as they end up having to protect their young victim!
House of Salem is a real corker of a paranormal potboiler, filled to the brim with strange cultists, outre dream sequences, and a fantastic element that brings to mind the Satanic shockers of the occult obsessed 1970’s. Also of note are the slow burn, tension filled pace that is peppered with just enough bizarre bits of strangeness to keep the viewer engaged (and a horror hound satisfied). Adding to the positives, the acting across the board in this one is rock solid, with Liam Kelly as Josh, and Jessica Arterton as Nancy being the real stand outs, and the costume design is excellent creating suitably creepy and rather iconic characters that really hit the beastly bullseye!
Moving to the negatives, the film’s pace may bother some viewers as this isn’t a non-stop terror train flying of the rails with wild abandon…and I know how impatient some of you creepy cats can be (but as stated, I love a slow burn fright flick, so this didn’t bother me). Additionally, I could have used more of the fever dream imagery the film makers interjected into this flick at random intervals…it was handled so well, and contained so much arcane atmosphere, I could go for a whole picture’s worth of this off-the-wall assfoolery! Now that I think about it, is it really a negative if I want more of what the film makers already delivered?!!
If you are looking for a supernatural fright flick with a great ’70’s occult vibe and some solid acting and visuals, then give House of Salem a go; I dare say you’ll be well and fully entertained!
For more on House of Salem from Horror Fuel, head here!