Two very different families search for the perfect house to call home. When both families show up at a deserted farmhouse, it quickly becomes clear that something is not right. After rescuing Hanna, a lost girl whose tongue has been cut out, they discover that every attempt to leave the farm takes them right back to its front door. Stuck in this purgatory together, they're haunted by a vengeful former owner intent on destroying them from within, with the simple declaration that only one family will call the house a home. As the days stack up and the families search in vain for a way out, the group dynamics dissolve into chaos, and horror reigns.
I really enjoyed this. Two families, both laced with their own secrets, meet up at a house viewing, where they are astonished to find no-one from the estate agency to greet them. Instead, there is a recorded message on a seemingly endless loop inviting them to explore each room. Bemused that both families should turn up to view the stark, isolated property at the same time, they look around briefly and decide to leave. But they can’t. All roads impossibly lead back to the house.
In true horror film fashion, a young girl, blood-stained and with her tongue removed, is running panic-stricken through the woodland. She is picked up by one of the families, and makes it clear they absolutely should not go into the house … which of course, they do. After all, where else can they go?
Marc Singer, an actor I always thought of displaying limited appeal, is the main ‘name’ here, and he turns in a truly mesmerising performance. In fact, the standard of acting is terrific throughout, with even the tongue-less girl projecting fear and resigned weariness with her expressions and reactions alone.
There is a dream-like state to it all, not all due to the madness incurred by the characters’ inability to leave the house or surrounding area for several weeks. Tins of stew are placed daily in the cupboard, just enough tins for each person. As panic gives into violence and people start dying, the amount of tins is reduced accordingly.
There are holes in the logic as there often are in films like this. Why doesn’t the tongue-less girl (who knows about the house) write down her warnings by way of communication if she cannot speak? The bodies that mount up - are they undiscovered by future prisoners of the house, because there were no other bodies around when these two families arrived. And just what is the creature/spirit in the hoodie? Of course, all of this can be dismissed by the delirious and occasionally hallucinogenic nature of The Wrong House - and when things are this entertaining, it is best just to allow yourself to be swept up in events.
As with other low-budget films, the location is very important, and this is filmed in a hugely open area with a Blair Witch-type woodland nearby, all bathed in biting, crisp sunlight, creating a very evocative visual. Also, the real villains are the ‘normal’ people, often the heads of the two families. The supernatural elements just encourage the small-time villainies to break out and cause a dangerous paranoia amongst the characters.