Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hell House (2001)

Director: George Ratliff

Starring: A bunch of dilusional kids and some frightening and talented adults.

More info: IMDb

Tagilne: This church wants to scare the Hell out of you.

Plot: A look at the "Hell House" performed annually in October by the youth members of Trinity Church (Assemblies of God) in Cedar Hill, Texas (a Dallas suburb) - seen by over 10,000 visitors each year. We see the organization and planning of the event - including auditions, construction, scripting and rehearsals - largely through the involvement of one family: a single father with 4 children (one of whom suffers from cerebral palsy) including his daughter, a cast member.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

I like it sometimes when a documentarian presents a film without making their opinions known.  This is one of those that presents the subject as it is.  If you are religious, you will like this film and see it as one that promotes this particular church's agenda.  If you're an atheist, you'll probably like this because it bares naked so many things that you can't stand in religion like their stance on homosexuality, abortion, etc.  I remember a similar method used for the EXCELLENT documentary, JESUS CAMP (2006).

HELL HOUSE was interesting...and unintentionally funny (or was it?).  The auditions are great as can be some of the finished product shown at the end of the movie.  This church goes through an awful lot of trouble to put this one and I have to give them credit for pulling it off year after year.  They may keep the same themes annually but they write new scripts for them every year.  These people are very dedicated to this thing and to the Jesus.  Too dedicated for my taste.  Some of these people are as scary as the little horror plays they produce.  It's a good thing they only come around once a year.  I'm going to have to see if there's one in my neck of the woods this October.  That could be a hoot.

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