House (2008 film)

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House (2008 film) Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobby Henson
Produced byJoe Goodman
Bobby Neutz
Michael Webber
Ralph Winter
Screenplay byRob Green
Based onHouse
by Ted Dekker
Frank E. Peretti
StarringMichael Madsen
Reynaldo Rosales
Heidi Dippold
Julie Ann Emery
J.P. Davis
Leslie Easterbrook
Lew Temple
Bill Moseley
Music byDavid E. Russo
CinematographyMarcin Koszałka
Edited byAndrea Bottigliero
Distributed byLions Gate Entertainment
Roadside Attractions
Release date
  • November 7, 2008 (2008-11-07)
Running time
88 minutes
United States

House is a 2008 horror film directed by Robby Henson, starring Reynaldo Rosales, Heidi Dippold and Michael Madsen. It is based on the novel of the same name by Frank E. Peretti and Ted Dekker. It covers the events that take place one night in an old, rustic inn in Alabama, where four guests and three owners find themselves locked in by a homicidical maniac. The maniac claims to have killed God and threatens to murder all seven of them, unless they produce the dead body of one of them by dawn.


In the prologue, the film depicts a panicky man who, for unknown reasons, murders his wife with a shotgun. The main storyline opens with Jack and Stephanie, a bickering young couple, who are lost while driving through the backwoods. We soon learn that they are on their way to meet a marriage counselor.

After getting bad directions from a state trooper, the couple get into a car accident when they run over some spiked metal in the road, which Jack dismisses as discarded scrap metal; they find another car which has experienced the same fate, but the occupants are missing. Forced to proceed on foot, Jack and Stephanie find the gothic Wayside Inn, where they try to phone for help. At the inn, they meet the occupants of the other car, the engaged couple Leslie and Randy. Because the phones are inoperative, both couples are forced to spend the night at the inn, which is staffed only by the eccentric proprietor Betty, her creepy son Pete (who develops an instant attraction for Leslie), and the gruff caretaker Stewart.

After a tense dinner, in which personalities clash, the group is terrorized by a legendary local figure, the Tin Man. Armed with a shotgun, the Tin Man attempts to get into the Wayside Inn. The staff locks the Tin Man out, and he responds by giving them a message scrawled on the side of a tin can. The message declares that he will kill everyone in the house unless they give him one dead body by sunrise. The staff, blaming their guests for attracting the Tin Man's attention, attempts to lock them in the freezing meat locker, threatening to leave them there for weeks. A fight ensues, and the guests realize that there is a supernatural presence in the house when Betty is injured in the struggle and bleeds black fog.

The couples escape the meat locker, but are unable to leave the house, which assaults them with terrifying visions involving their worst memories. For Jack and Stephanie, the visions involve their daughter, who died after falling through the ice in a skating accident. For Randy, the visions involve his abusive father. For Leslie, the visions involve an uncle named Pete, who sexually abused her when she was a little girl; these visions are intensified by the similar lusts of Pete who lives at the Wayside Inn.

Confused by the visions, the four guests find themselves separated. Jack meets Susan, a young girl who has been held captive by the staff. Susan reminds Jack of his deceased daughter, especially after she claims to have been in contact with her spirit; Susan assures Jack, and later Stephanie, that their daughter is in a good place.

Emotionally tormented by the visions, stalked by the homicidal Wayside staff, and under constant threat from the Tin Man, all four guests succumb to the various pressures and start to turn on each other. Shortly after they discover that the staff worships the Devil, Jack is split into two identical people; each seems to think of himself as the "real" Jack, yet each bleeds black mist when injured, making it impossible for anyone to figure out which is the real Jack and which is the doppelganger.

The couples almost escape when they are aided by Officer Lawdale (the same state trooper who had given bad directions to Jack and Stephanie), but they are recaptured when Lawdale turns out to be working with the Wayside staff. Lawdale and the Wayside staff try to force the couples to appease the Tin Man by choosing one of themselves to kill. Past tensions initially lead the viewer to believe that Randy will resolve the situation by killing Jack, but he instead turns the gun on Susan. Jack deflects the gun but Susan is hit. Desperate to appease the Tin Man, Leslie and Randy kill each other.

Lawdale reveals that he is the Tin Man, and that he and the Wayside staffers are all manifestations of pure evil. Jack and Stephanie defeat their captors by channeling the energy of pure good that is flowing from Susan's dead body.

Finally able to escape the inn, Jack and Stephanie trek back to their car, where they discover their unconscious bodies, as well as the dead bodies of Leslie and Randy; they realize that their entire experience at the inn was nothing more than a shared out of body experience. As Jack and Stephanie wake up and are taken away in an ambulance, they are watched over by a resurrected Susan, who observes that their love for each other has been reawakened by the events at the Wayside Inn. As the couple ride off in an ambulance, Jack looks out the window to see Lawdale laughing at him from the front gate of the Wayside, with the caretakers watching out of an upstairs window.



The film received a rating of R for some violence and terror.

The film was given a limited release to theaters on November 7, 2008, where it opened in 25th place with a weekend earning of $327,445. In total it earned $575,048 during its U.S. theatrical run.[1] The film was released to DVD on April 7, 2009 via Lions Gate Entertainment.


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 0% approval rating with an average rating of 2.83/10, based on 12 reviews.[2] Metacritic assigned a score of 24 out of 100, based on 4 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[3]

Luke Y. Thompson of The Village Voice criticized Rosales and Dippold as the protagonists, calling them, "overly bland and poorly cast," and the lack of screen time for Madsen, Temple, Moseley and Easterbrook as the antagonists. Thompson also praised their performances.[4] Mark H. Harris of gave the film a D+, praising the film for its setup and cast, but criticized the story and action sequences. He also called the film, "surprisingly dull and uninspired."[5] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle gave the film 1.5/5 stars, and said, "[the film] has a few moments that ring genuinely eerie, but the cluttered, unconvincing dialogue... make it more of a genre curiousity [sic] than anything the Fangoria gang would likely want to sit through."[6]


  1. ^ "House (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  2. ^ "House (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "House". Metacritic. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Thompson, Luke Y. (November 12, 2008). "House is a Christian Parable Dressed Up in Horror Trappings". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Harris, Mark H. (April 7, 2009). "'House' DVD Review". Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Savlov, Marc (November 14, 2008). "House - Movie Review". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved July 15, 2019.

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