Monday, 9 January 2017

All Through the House (2015) - Horror Film Review

It wasn't that long ago that I had little to no idea how big of a genre the Christmas themed horror film actually was. I knew of a few such as Black Christmas, Gremlins, and Jack Frost but it is only really in the last two years I discovered there are countless others. All Through the House is a new addition to the genre and is heavily influenced by the slasher films of old.

It is the Christmas season and a deranged killer dressed up as Santa has arrived in a small neighbourhood to cause mischief and mayhem. Rachel Kimmel (Ashley Mary Nunes) is with some friends helping to decorate the house of harmless local crazy woman Mrs Garrett (Melynda Kiring, who is one of the final nominees for best supporting actress in the 2016 Fright Meter Awards) when the killer shows up. Now Rachel must find a way to survive against the seemingly unstoppable garden shears wielding maniac...

All Through the House is an ode to 80's slashers, and the whole genre in general. As such there are many, many familiar components here, whether you see that as a good or a bad thing I cannot say. So you get a fleeing girl tripping over (something that I did moan about in Brackish the other day), you get a kill room, a high kill count with victims dispatched in varied ways, wafer thin characters who make ridiculous decisions, a silent masked killer recently escaped from a mental home, mother issues, and much more. It all feels quite authentic and really does do everything it can to proudly exclaim it is a slasher. It was nice to see all the effects were done practically, that is always preferable to me.

So the main method of murder is a pair of garden shears, you can imagine all the body horror that entails and you wont be disappointed. The prologue is a perfect taster of what is to come. In this intro a child is killed (off camera), a woman has shears thrust through her eyes (a nice Jessica Cameron cameo), and a hapless man has his penis cut off! This is a female dominated film and there are no end of the poor victims that have the shears thrust into them, as well as a few men who get castrated. It isn't hard to see this method of death is symbolic of some sort of sexual repression issues. For the most part woman victims get penetrated by this deadly tool, while the men loose their manhood from it. If that wasn't a big enough clue at several points the killer holds his tool at waist level and does some thrusts just to hammer home this fact. It worked in giving the slasher some sort of twisted motivation, and I have to say a murderous Father Christmas just can't fail to look creepy. There are some nice stab effects and while there is sadly no decapitations there is a wince inducing moment when someone gets their fingers chopped off! To compliment this there is loads of blood, which is just the bloody icing on the cake in terms of the fun of the kills.

The plot is very simple, it is a slasher though so what did you expect? It is old school in that there is very little to the story at all. There are some twists and turns along the way but nothing I couldn't accurately predict about fifteen minutes in. All Through the House shares moments with the big classics like Friday 13th and Halloween when it comes to how the plot plays out. This story is slightly more messed up at times but didn't really stand out in terms of that. The Christmas theme is very thick, it is almost absurd how decorated everything is. It made sense for Mrs Garrett's creepy house due to hints of the season having some very special significance for her. When the killer breaks into a random persons house and we see that not only has this person got a Santa themed shower curtain, but tinsel wrapped round the shower nozzle itself I did find myself thinking it was a bit of over kill! On the flip side that does make this very suitable to watching at that time of year.

All Through the House is a fun nostalgic throwback to a simpler time, while I enjoyed the inventive deaths I couldn't help but wish at times the characters had more to them. Aside from the killer itself the only memorable character was Mrs Garrett, Kiring balanced the line between too over the top and suitably batty quite well, the scenes of her on her own added a lot to her character. Worth a watch, just don't expect any real surprises.


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