In From a House on Willow Street, the daughter (Carlyn Burchell) of a wealthy diamond distributor is abducted by a group of kidnappers (led by actress Sharni Vinson), but in due time, it is revealed that she is harboring a demonic entity within, which leads to a terrifying scenario for all involved.
The underlying concept of From a House on Willow Street is intriguing, and features a bonafide genre star in the lead (Vinson of You’re Next and Jeffrey fame). The first couple of minutes in which the inciting incident takes off is compelling in its own right as well, though once the more horrific elements take hold, the entire thing goes off the rails and falls into unstable territory.
The film features a decent assortment of special effects, however they are rendered ineffectual due to the lack of compelling execution and overabundance of standard jump-scare moments. The sad part about this is the film could have easily succeeded as a subdued, behind-closed-doors type of horror film, over something that is constantly shouting at the audience and spelling things out for them.
There’s not much to say about the performances, as the fairly light runtime doesn’t allow for much in the way of character development or dimensionalization. Vinson is a blast to watch, and further cements her presence as a scream queen for this generation, slowly moving from antagonist to protagonist and unleashing some truly badass moments – easily the lone reason to watch this film in the first place.
Director Alastair Orr, known for other simplistic and predictable horror outings like Expiration and Indigenous, doesn’t appear to have learned anything new, as his style still continues to hinge on a boring assembly of shots and concepts copied from better horror films. Were there to be more dynamism in the editing and overall composure of the film, it could have easily become an underground hit, as there is good material here, unfortunately squandered.
On the surface, From a House on Willow Street seems like an interesting concept through its hybridization of a kidnapping plot draped in supernatural garb, but in the end all this film wants to do is shout “Boo!” in the audience’s face.