The Hell House LLC movies have been an unlikely success of a franchise that first came on to the scene less than half a decade ago. It was a small, unassuming film that gained attention for (actually) being scary. At this point in horror cinema, there was a collective eye roll when hearing about anything found footage. Film goers had been jaded by years and years of cynical filmmakers trying to cash in on Paranormal Activity clones (including the franchise itself, which kept pumping out sequels that seemed more like copycats than sequels). Even after being constantly beat down by these lazy films, Hell House gained a small but adoring fanbase. It was the movie that you would recommend when your friends asked, “What should I watch tonight?”
This eventual success lead to two quickly released sequels, including Lake Of Fire that is set to be released this September 19th. Part two stuck pretty close to the original but focused mainly on building lore. Some of that lore made the first film more fun, but some of that extra info lead to a lot more questions than answers. Lake of Fire attempts to fill those gaps and does so to varying degrees of success.
The Abaddon Hotel will once again be open to the public. Russell Wynn has taken his audience-interactive show, Insomnia, into the abandoned hotel that is rumored to be haunted.
Being the third film in a series can be tricky and it shows a bit in Lake of Fire. We return to that same setting and some of that can already feel a little worn out. The Abaddon Hotel still has its air of creepiness, but it would be nice if we finally moved this franchise into a newer setting. That gripe aside, we still get an incredibly engaging horror film, packed with wonderfully earned jump scares and that overall creepiness that made us fall in love with this series in the first place.
Old and new characters pop up and continue to give very good and compelling performances. These better-than-average performances are one of the ways that these films set themselves apart from the vast sea of subpar found footage movies out there. While most movies in this sub-genre let bad writing and corny acting slide, these actors always show up and make everything feel real. While this may not be my favorite film of the series, it still is a solid entry into one of the freshest franchises in modern horror cinema.
Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire is available this Thursday, September 19th, exclusively on Shudder.