What starts off as a somewhat simple home invasion and kidnapping turns very strange and sinister in House Of Salem, the latest film by writer director James Crow (Nightmare on 34th Street; Curse of the Witching Tree)
When a group of kidnappers invade a house and snatch Josh (played by Liam Kelly) things don;t go according to plan and once the gan and their victim hide out in a safe house. Things take a turn for the strange and spooky House of Salem is a slow burning film where we the viewer very slowly learn whats going on, just as the characters onscreen also slowly learn what is happening in their world.
But more than just home invasions and kidnappings gone wrong, there is far more to the House of Salem than just a run of the mill creepy horror film. Whilst the film does have a lot of nods to classic horror (scary clowns, people hiding in corners of bedrooms, and sacrificial rabbit left outside the front door) there are a lot of great things to see in this film. The interplay between the characters is a lot of fun to watch and I think if there was such a thing as an Agatha Christie version of The Wicker Man with a dash or two of Stanley Kubricks The Shining thrown in for good measure then House of Salem just might be it..Characters in a single location (for the most) all wondering what the hell is going on and trying to make sure they make it to the end credits. Very theatrical!
The casting is top notch, and whilst there isn’t a down side to any of the casting or characters in the film, and whilst we have great roles for Dean Maskell ( No Reasons) , Jack Brett Anderson (Wolfblood), and Robert Lowe (The Bill- for me the standouts are Liam Kelly who plays Josh, the kidnapped child who there just might be more to than a simple kidnap victim. In his feature debut, Liam shows no sign of this being his first screen role and even in the scenes where he has no dialogue, shows that he has a natural talent for the creative. His scenes with Nancy (played by Jessica Arterton) are the highlights of the film, and its a revelation to see that Jessica also has House of Salem as he screen debut. Whilst all credit to Jessica and Liam for doing a great job, its also a round of applause for whoever handled the casting of this James Crow film. (which in looking at the end credits was down to Verity Rae Martin and James Crow)
James Crow once again shows himself to be the highly capable director he is and with House of Salem being only his second feature (he has directed a lot of short films to practice his talent) Its a great thing to know that James has at least 3 more feature films lined up for film fans to view over the next year or so. For now though, we have House Of Salem, and if you haven’t checked out the previous film from James Crow, then I do highly recommend The Curse of The Witching Tree,
House of Salem is due for release in 2017