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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Review: Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire

Director: Stephen Cognetti
Screenplay: Stephen Cognetti
Year: 2019

“Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire”, is it’s not obvious from its name, is the third installment in the (until now) trilogy of “Hell House LLC” by director and writer Stephen Cognetti and Terror Films studio. This movie is preceded from cult favorite “Hell House LLC” and “Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel”, which was not as well-received by the public as the first one. Both follow the mockumentary and found footage style, repeated in “Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire”.

“Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire” takes place nine years after the events in “Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel”. Right before the demolition of the controverted Abbadon hotel, and eccentric millionaire buys it and decides to make it a haunted house attraction named Insomnia. A couple from the program Morning Mysteries follows the crew from Insomnia to document everything that happens as they prepare the attraction. The real motive behind the millionaire putting the attraction there is later known as several paranormal events start taking place in the abandoned hotel.

What made “Hell House LLC” was its found footage style mixed with mockumentary in a haunted house attraction during Halloween season where everything goes terribly wrong. The same recipe is used in the second and third parts, losing effectiveness each time. There’s a limit to how many times you can use the same concept without it losing originality and surprise factor and this is what most affects this movie. In this case, even the Morning Mysteries program is recycled, which makes a return from the second part.

A lot of effort is put into the atmosphere to be spooky and the scares and they end up being effective. Not every tense moment works as they should, but many will give you goosebumps and they keep increasing in intensity. Especially the scenes with the clown are the most tense and frightful tanks to a character with a terrifying appearance and how the situations are established. However, the movie devotes a great deal of its runtime to develop what will take place on the third act, which ends up not paying for the patience of the viewer during its build-up and the best scenes are not in this part.

The screenplay works to many things at the same time trying to have a good closing for the story developed in the three movies and ends up creating too many continuation issues. On top of that, some dialogues are strange, and they are emphasized through the acting. Although in general the acting is not bad, it does feel amateur, which some of them, like Gabriel Chytry (Russell Wynn) and Elizabeth Vermilyea (Vanessa Shepherd) are.

“Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire” is a good addition to the “Hell House LLC” story but is not the ending it deserves. The ending makes no sense with the style shown in the movies and it neither feels like a good ending for the trilogy. The movie has some good scares and some memorable character (back to the clown), but as what happened with “Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel”, it doesn’t reach the level of the first one and exemplifies how the level of quality in the story has decreased through the sequels, even when the technical quality has increased.




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