House Swap

House Swap

UK/USA, 2009
AKA: You Are Not Alone, House Trap
Director: Mark Ezra
Writer: Mark Ezra
Cast: Nathan Nolan, Evie Brodie, Simon Dutton, Louise Houghton, Seth Sinclair

Matt and Ginny are a young american couple who has made a house swap for six months with a brittish couple. They’re also pretty much filming everything they do. Yeah, You guessed it. It’s another darn found footage movie. It’s getting old, in fact it was getting old a long time ago.

Anyway, compared to last weeks found footage Happy Birthday Hannah at least this one had a better start and the main characters weren’t as anoying.

Well, back to Matt and Ginny. On their way to “their new house” they stop to take in the scenery and at one such stop he is filming Ginny and there is a couple far away in the background. Suddenly the man beats the woman down. Matt starts yelling to him to stop and the man starts to run towards Matt and Ginny demanding that they stop filming and gives him the camera. They jump in the car and barely gets away as the outraged man smears blood over their windshield.

In The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Hitchiker smears blood on the side of the van as he is getting kicked out and one of the characters jokes about them “being markt”, and we all know what happened to them, don’t we? Whether the angry man who smeared blood on their windshield has anything with what happens next to Matt and Ginny is unclear, but at least they themseves believe so for starters.

The house turns out to be an enormous mansion with a vast number of rooms. In fact more lika a labyrinth than an ordinary house. Then things start to happen which makes Matt believe that someone somehow is getting in to the house. It turns out the owners of the house has had problems with a stalker and this is why there are hidden security cameras all over the house. Handy when You are making a horror movie, eh?

For a long time House Swap is actually quite OK. Not much happening but we know someone is in the house with our heroes. It’s obvious something is going to go bad and the story keeps building up to some sort of climax. Unfortunately it doesn’t work all the way. Somewhere along the way the screenwriter lost concentration and the characters start behaving weird. There is this really strange policeman, and there is unbelievable stuff like having an arguement and going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night from an intruder making noises obviously from inside the house. There’s also the “get the camera”-scene. You know what I mean when You see it.

House Swap isn’t terribly bad. It has a solid feel to it and even if the budget wasn’t very big, it still feels like a “real” film and not some kids homemovie which a lot of those found footage films do.

My verdict: 4 out of 10.

Happy Birthday Hannah

Acres Films, USA, 2018
Director: Matthew I. Schmidt
Writer: Matthew I. Schmidt
Cast: Brandon Burkley, Patrick Finegan, Laura Goellner, Natalie Klein, Maria Kravets, Hailey Kate Schmidt, Hannah Collett Schmidt

Another Paranormal Activity but on a shoestring budget and without a script. I’m not really a fan of “found footage”, “POV” and “security camera” films. It can work sometimes, but it doesn’t this time. Half of Happy Birthday Hannah we see through cameras mounted in and outside the house and the rest we see through Rachels smartphone.

Rachel and Brody is getting ready to go see their friends at the pub. But first Brody has to change a broken lightbulb. The only lightbulb he can find is red. Is this important? I don’t know. Does it have some sort of significance for the rest of the story? I don’t know. Does it have a deep symbolic meaning? I don’t know. Why does Rach and Brody even have a red lightbulb? I don’t know. If anyone DO know the answer to any of these questions, please please explain in a comment.

Rachel is extremely annoying, filming herself and everything and everyone all the time with her smartphone. During their evening she has a breakdown which she also films. The reason for her breakdown is tomorrow is her sister Hannah’s birthday. Hannah drowned when she was a child and Rachel saw it happen but froze and couldn’t do anything to save her. She has lived with the guilt ever since.

Next day, on Hannah’s birthday Rachel goes down to the lake where Hannah drowned, tells her how sorry she is, how much she misses her and leaves her favourite toy, a stuffed purple bunny. Later that evening things start to happen in their house. Chairs starts to move by themself, thumps and noises wake Rachel up at night. It sounds like someone is running up and down the stairs and there is a child giggeling. Brody doesn’t believe her at first, but Rachel is getting more and more convinced Hannah has returned to torment her for letting her die.

When they wake up in the middle of the night and find the wet footprints of a child on the floor and Hannahs stuffed bunny soaked in water sitting on the couch, even Brody sees something is happening. Things start to become tense between Rachel and Brody, and he suggest they ask a priest to come bless the house.

My verdict: 1 out of 10.