Taking it’s cue from a CreepyPasta tale that managed to acquire urban legend status, THE HAUNTED HOUSE ON KIRBY ROAD, the directorial debut of actor Stuart Stone (DONNIE DARKO) is a nice twist on the familiar “party in a haunted house” genre. Taking a fairly cliched plot and making it seem fresh isn’t always an easy task, but Stone and co-writer Adam Rodness pull it off here.
The films begins with a card stating that getting stoned in a haunted house never ends well. This turns out to be the start of a YouTube video that alleges to show two stoners running afoul of something in a local haunted house. Seeing this makes three buddies, ladies man Truggers (Austin Duffy DEAD RUSH), nice guy Drew (Chris Kapeleris BEYOND HELL) and virginal geek Lucky (Andrew Pimento) decide this would be a great place to take some female friends and party. Hooking up with Zoe (Samantha Cole BED OF THE DEAD), Jordan (Nina Kiri LET HER OUT) and Becca (Sammi Barber PRECIOUS CARGO) they head off to party. Need I say they should have heeded the video’s title card because things start to go very, very wrong?
While it does take awhile to get going, you don’t really notice it thanks to the writing which manages to hit a few notes that a lot of the audience will identify with, like Lucky’s embarrassment buying condoms for the first time, or trying to convince a suspicious cop (Colin Price BED OF THE DEAD, LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE) that nothing illegal is going on while high as hell. However, once the film moves into fright mode it gets creepy fast. Not only can the entity kill, it can posses your corpse, giving the film a bit of zombie action as well. Another nice twist is that you have to make eye contact with the thing to be affected, which makes looking where you’re going or dodge a dead friend a bit of a problem.
While not a particularly bloody film, THE HAUNTED HOUSE ON KIRBY ROAD does has it’s share of effects. They’re mostly done without CGI, and in an interesting twist, several of the effects team were responsible for Chris Angel’s illusions on his MINDFREAK television show, movie magic indeed.
Having won Best Horror Film at this years Toronto Independent Film Festival and Best Director and Best Cinematography at the 2016 Cineview Film Festival, THE HAUNTED HOUSE ON KIRBY ROAD is available on VOD, and will debut on Canada’s Super Channel December 9th, ahead of DVD/Blu Ray release in early 2017. UK and US release is being arranged.