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aunt on the night of the killings, has returned to live alone in the murder house. Elissa has a thing for the sole survivor because he reminds her of handsome and vulnerable James Dean, but Sarah objects to her daughter’s budding relationship with this quiet lad, and bullies at the local high school give poor Ryan a hard time – wait, isn’t this supposed to be a horror movie? So far it’s just a turgid, 21st-century retread of Degrassi Junior High and Rebel Without a Cause. The second half of the picture comes fitfully to life

as we discover that Ryan is not what he seems. From then on, the obligatory twists and turns keep coming; it’s too bad they’re all numbingly predictable and not the least bit frightening. House is completely devoid of originality, style and

wit. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise, since it was penned by David Loucka, who also scripted last year’s low-rent Dream House. And though it was filmed en- tirely in Ottawa, it could have been shot anywhere. To the best of my knowledge, a good horror film has never been made in Canada’s capital city. House at the End of the Street continues this unenviable tradi- tion.


THE BARRENS Starring Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner and Erik Knudsen

Written and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman Anchor Bay

You know you made it in the crypto world when

they name a pro sports team after you, in this case the New Jersey Devils. Said to inhabit the Pine Barrens, a heavily forested area that runs through southern New Jersey, this classic cryptozoo creature has been reported by eye- witnesses as far back as the 1700s. Most descrip- tions say it has a horse- like head, leathery wings, horns and claws, making it a creepy beast perfect for

a monster flick. Darren Lynn Bousman would agree. The filmmaker, best known for Repo! The Genetic

Opera and Saw II to IV, handles both directing and scripting duties on The Barrens, this time combining elements of psychological horror with a monster-in- the-woods scenario centred around the legend of the Jersey Devil.The plot follows the Vineyard family as they venture out on a camping trip to the Barrens. The father, Richard – played by True Blood’s Stephen Moyer – visited the area as a boy and decides it would be a good place to take the wife and kids for some nature exploration, and to scatter his father’s ashes. Once they enter the morose woodlands, though, it’s not long before they encounter some unsavory sights, including a horribly gutted deer. By way of flashbacks and dream sequences, we eventually learn that Richard may have first-hand knowledge of the Bar- rens’ devilish resident, which begins to haunt him as his mental state slowly unravels. His wife, daughter and young son must then deal with the unfolding hor- ror as they follow him deeper into the woods.

The Barrens: Crypto nastieness in the New Jersey woods

All in all, The Barrens is an intriguing film with

some memorable moments. The structure works well to build the back story, provide suitable tension and, above all, keep us guessing right up until the end as to whether the Jersey Devil is “real” or simply a fig- ment of a disturbed imagination. Moyer delivers a ca- pable performance as the troubled father, a role reminiscent of The Shining’s Jack Torrance. A few of the supporting cast is a bit stiff but the main core, in- cluding Mia Kirshner as Richard’s wife, help to bal- ance out these shortcomings. The movie’s abrupt ending is effective, but if you’re, well, into denoue- ments, the DVD includes a lengthier alternate conclu- sion.


SECOND SEASON Starring Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour Directed by T.W. Peacocke, Robert Lieberman, Lynne Stopkewich, et al. Written by Sam Ernst, Jim Dunn, Gabrielle G. Stanton, et al. entertainmentone

HAVEN: THE COMPLETE Of all the genre shows currently gracing the boob

tube, Haven is perhaps the most under-the-radar. It may not boast the zombie car- nage of The Walking Dead or the sex-and-blood highjinks of True Blood, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to recommend it. It is, after all, loosely based on a story by Stephen King. The second season picks up

where the first left off, with Haven’s police chief dead and his son Nathan (Lucas Bryant) stepping into the role. This sets up the season’s overarching feud between those who want to help “the troubled” (people afflicted with dangerous and often murderous paranormal abilities) and those who see them as abominations that should be dispatched before they hurt others. While that’s in play – along with Audrey’s continued search to un- cover her true, likely supernatural identity – we are treated to more chaos and killings. Season two sees episodes in which people’s fears literally come to life, a spate of electrocutions plague the town, a robust

infectious disease locks down the police station, and ghosts of dead relatives come back to settle old scores. Fans of the show will additionally delight in the

bounty of extras included here. Not only do six of the thirteen episodes boast commentaries, but a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes offer up a near-perfect explanation of how TV shows get made, from deter- mining locations, to writing, to set design and cos- tuming, to directing and producing. Another set of featurettes takes you deeper into the series’ mythol- ogy, and if that’s still not enough, you can watch the panel from New York Comic Con. In short, if you haven’t visited Haven yet, you should think about scheduling a trip.


THE MOTH DIARIES Starring Lily Cole, Sarah Bolger and Sarah Gadon Directed by Mary Harron Written by Mary Harron and Rachel Klein IFC Films

Suspiria it ain’t. Rather, this all-girl boarding school

“vampire” movie by Mary Harron (American Psycho) is a thriller without suspense, a horror without scares. Based on the 2002 novel by Rachel Klein,

The Moth Diaries is the story of Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) and her obsession with her best friend and roommate Lucie (Antiviral’s Sarah Gadon), which is threatened by the arrival of a strange girl at their religious private school. The unnat- urally tall, porcelain-skinned Ernessa (Snow White and the Hunstman’s Lily Cole) also takes a strong interest in Lucie, and soon the girl is missing classes, isolating herself from her for- mer friends and growing weak and sickly. All

the while, accidents and dead bodies pile up, and Re- becca begins to suspect something evil is afoot. For a tale so clearly inspired by Dracula (the inno-

cent victim Lucie, the diary format) and Carmilla (Re- becca’s erotic yearnings for Lucie are not subtle, and there is one short girl-on-girl bloodsucking scene), there is surprisingly little vampire imagery or mythol- ogy in this film. Instead, it’s a lot of Rebecca moaning about losing all of her friends and running around try- ing to convince others that Ernessa is a dangerous presence on campus. The dialogue is shockingly am-

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