House Of The Damned Torrent

House Of The Damned Torrent

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House Of The Damned Torrent

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Will and Maura, despite their marital problems, decide to come to Ireland and live on Maura's ancestral estate, bringing with them their daughter Aubrey. But soon weird happenings around the house lead a local priest to confess that Maura's ancestors practiced black magic, and Maura's own insecurities threaten to bring her into the evil fold.
This is an absolutely hilarious attempt at a scary, haunted house flick in the same vein as THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and POLTERGEIST. Although it is frequently bad, the best thing you can say about this film is that it is never boring - indeed, I found it to be very watchable and unintentionally amusing. This film differentiates itself from the rest by being set in Ireland, although all the old clichés are still present, as I&#39;m sure you&#39;ll be glad to hear. From the opening there are some nice scenes of a barren and deserted Ireland, full of ruined walls and wide empty expanses of countryside. Along with the over-the-top score (which throws in some Gregorian chanting to desperately try and be scary - it doesn&#39;t work, incidentally) these are probably the eeriest scenes in the entire film. Sadly it all goes downhill from there.<br/><br/>Being an American film, the three main stars of this film are, as you would have guessed, American. I guess a film about three Irish people being haunted just wouldn&#39;t have appealed to an American audience - or so the producers so narrow-mindedly thought, anyway. Greg Evigan is the likable, mild-mannered father of the family who does lots of heroic and manly things throughout the film&#39;s course. His wife is played by &quot;TV movie queen&quot; Alexandra Paul, who once again I found to be supremely irritating here. Especially when she&#39;s supposed to be scary once she becomes possessed, but just looks unconvincing and stupid. The daughter is played by Briana Evigan (there&#39;s nepotism for you) and is also pretty annoying, as a fair few child actresses are. The supporting cast of Irish actors and actresses are infinitely more interesting than the main stars of the film.<br/><br/>I like the way this film has three separate segments. Firstly comes the &quot;haunting&quot; part of the film, where lots of unconnected events occur in the house to scare the inhabitants. Secondly comes the &quot;child in danger&quot; aspect, which totally rips off POLTERGEIST and sees the little girl mysteriously getting kidnapped by the ghosts - and having to be rescued through an ancient ritual. The third part of the film moves into possession territory as Paul suddenly goes mad and starts wielding a handy meat-cleaver at her husband and daughter. After she&#39;s cured (what, like you couldn&#39;t guess?) the film reverts to the classic &quot;haunting&quot; aspect again and the house is destroyed, burning down in a old-fashioned style of which Roger Corman would be proud.<br/><br/>I found this film to have the edge on other low-budget productions of the &#39;90s by the sheer wealth of supernatural stuff that goes on in it, as opposed to the one or two events we see in things like BURIED SECRETS. As far as I can remember, the film includes the following: blood running down walls and filling containers; an external priest dying as a result of the evil; a creepy talking doll; the ghost of a murdered girl; a clairvoyant seeing a vision of evil; a walled-up corpse in the cellar; an evil statue which is implied to come to life; a decapitation; a magic ritual; a walking severed hand; an amulet; the apparition of an old witch; demonic possession; levitating objects like scissors, knives, etc.; an invisible monster; a glowing tornado in the cellar (!!!); cupboards opening and stuff being moved around; rats and messed-up video and computer signals. There&#39;s more which I can&#39;t remember. Some of the more extreme effects are rendered by some cartoonish CGI effects which are also very funny.<br/><br/>It seems that after all this stuff had happened (the film is packed with almost constant action), there was STILL time to be padded out. Thus we get a tacked on opening sequence in which two cleaners are disturbed by the house and one is blown up in an unexplained exploding car. This is never referred to in the rest of the film. They also inserted a couple of cheesy sex scenes to make the film more scintillating to male viewers, I guess. ESCAPE TO NOWHERE (the original title HOUSE OF THE DAMNED was much better) is a bad film, yes, but it&#39;s a hoot to watch!
This was a letdown in many ways. The location filming in Ireland, though quite beautiful at times, cannot save this uninspired flick. Greg Evigan and Alexandra Paul, as the married couple trying to get their marriage back on track and who inherit a haunted mansion, just aren&#39;t interesting characters. Paul, towards the end of the film, becomes incredibly annoying and one wishes she would just close her mouth and shut up, as it seems she is screaming as if it has just become an Olympic event! Other problems with this film are odd segments that have nothing to do with the core of the film, such as the opening sequence with two cleaning women and the woman in a bed with a severed hand climbing over her writhing, naked body. Although the woman is quite adequate doing this it does nothing storywise. One is left thinking the production team needed to pad out a short running time and just tossed in some padding and a bit of T and A. The CGI effects are cartoonish as well and the fiery finale rivals co-executive producer Roger Corman&#39;s much earlier and far superior film The Fall Of The House Of Usher in all its ineffective cheapness. Any attempt at true tension and suspense, and as a result chills, are thrown out the window in this low budget bust. If you like images of Ireland you might find something here but you would do better renting or buying a travelogue. Skip this unless you are undiscriminating and think plot is secondary. Rent another low budget ghost story(if you can find it) titled The Woman In Black and see how good and scary a movie can be. This was a wasted opportunity.

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