House of Bones (2010) - Television movies and network shows have gotten good at those draw you in opening sequences, I see it a lot on shows like Supernatural where the horror opening is really scary and compelling. House of bones has such an opening with a young boy showing a couple older kids his Father's prized Babe Ruth signed baseball. The callous boys decide they want to hit the ball and unfortunately it goes all the way across the street into the yard of a spooky old house. The younger boy knowing his behind is at stake is forced to conquer his fear and go and retrieve the ball. The music is spot on as the tension grows near the old house. Not only is it old large and scary but already has a reputation as a haunted place. Close up of toys abandoned in the yard, then the reaction of the frightened boy when he sees the ball flush against the front door. He musters his resolve and moves slowly towards his prize but as he nears the front door opens with a creak and the ball rolls just a body's length into the foyer. The kid spooked tuns to leave but suddenly is again facing the ball. He tries to turn and leave again but again finds himself further onto the porch. Now stretching into the house he reaches the ball always cautious to keep his feet outside the threshold. Success and the stands and turns to leave. Then a force lifts him up and pulls him into the dark of the house, leaving only the marks of his dirty fingers on the door frame where he tried in vain to grab hold. It's a less then original opening but was well executed and there was hope that this TV movie would be something a bit better than most.
Unfortunately the rest of the film falls into used up tropes and cliches that have been around for years. The energy of the opening is quickly forgotten as the film builds the character who will later be the victims of the house. Quentin French (Corin Nemic) is the host of a haunted sites cable show that is currently hitting the skids, arrogant about its popularity he is none too pleased that from now on he will have to go on location for a more reality based exploration of ghostly mansions. Going on ahead of him are his crew, lead investigator and fx man Greg (Marcus Lyle Brown) cinematographer Simon (Collin Galyean) helper Bub (Kyle Russell Clements), Producer Tom (Ricky Wayne) and recently hired psychic Heather (Charisma Carpenter) add in young Realtor Sara (Stephanie Honore) and we have the primary players for the film. The early scenes with Quentin getting demoted and the crew setting up at the haunted house are mundane for the most part but little quirky happenings pop up just in time for cuts that obviously were meant to be used to go to commercial.
I think the biggest problem with this film is the fact that the house, its history is the main character. What this means for the viewer is when shit starts going down and poor Bub is lost pulled into the walls of the house there is a giant need to tell us what the story of the house is and who all the previous owners were. This expository talk is always from the one cast member who has done the research explaining it to the others and in most cases is just tedious to listen to. Movies are about showing not telling and killing the pacing of a film almost always happens when you have to tell the story. Then of course is the inexplicable necessities of having a psychic to confirm the house is evil, and numerous deaths before the smart survivors come up with a one line solution to save themselves. It is not that this film is not mildly entertaining but damn the explanation of what the house is and how to deal with it are so simple and unquestioned by anyone in the place that the viewer is left thinking they are all a bunch of dopes.
The twist ending is less than satisfying but there are some decent things about the film also. The music fits really well and the acting is quite passable. A bit television geared but hey this is a made for TV movie so its what you get. In the end I was more disappointed than entertained and probably will not revisit this one.