Plot: Ben Williams (Gerald Webb) has just moved his family into a beautiful new home, hoping for a fresh start. His wife Linda (Diahnna Nicole Baxter) has struggled with alcohol abuse in the wake of an affair, but Ben is confident this change of scenery is just what his family needs. The new home is spacious and modern, with all the amenities anyone could want. But while it seems like an ideal place to start over, things might not be as serene as they appear. At school, everyone tells warns Ben’s children that the house is evil and bad things are bound to happen. Small, but strange things happen around the house, like a set of dolls that are put into storage, but keep returning to the place they were displayed. The tension also rises within the family, as arguments break out and the mood is just soaked in negative energies. But is this just stress over the changes in their lives, or is a darker force at work within the house?
Entertainment Value: I do love haunted house movies and when one opens with Richard Grieco soaked in blood, it has my attention. The story here is a familiar one, as a family moves into a new home and hopes for a fresh start, only to discover things aren’t going to be all rainbows and sunshine. A House is Not a Home walks a well tread path, but manages to still provide solid entertainment. The movie doesn’t break new ground or take any risks, using tried & true elements from similar films to bolster the ghost story as it unfolds. So if you’re a horror fan, you’ll recognize bits and pieces from other haunted house tales throughout this one. I do love movies that go in uncharted directions and toss in fresh twists, so I was a little let down by how unoriginal this flick is. At the same time, it puts those conventions to good use and provides a capable horror ride, which is more than a lot of movies can claim. The cast is more than solid, with Bill Cobbs in a small, but fun role that steals a few scenes. Eddie Steeples also appears as a voodoo priest, which is quite cool. This one might not be all that original, but it is well made and fans of haunted house movies should have some fun here.
No nakedness. There’s some blood at times, but not much. Most of the violence happens off screen, save one scene where some CGI splatter is evident. The rest is aftermath type red stuff, while the kinetic violence isn’t shown. The movie isn’t driven by bloodshed though, so it doesn’t slow things down much. There’s also some passable makeup work, with a couple creepy ghosts and of course, Richard Grieco covered in blood. So not a bloodless affair, but don’t expect rivers of crimson here. The dialogue is mostly serious and isn’t poorly written, which doesn’t yield much memorable stuff. I did like the petty arguments within the family, but there still weren’t many home run lines. One point for the family dysfunction, however. While Richard Grieco and Eddie Steeples in a horror movie is a little wild, this one rarely gets crazy at all. As I said before, this movie stays within established conventions, so it never goes off the rails.
Overall Insanity: 0/10