NEW DVD RELEASE APRIL 1st : House of Good and Evil (2014) – Review

Here is a sneak peek of the low-budget, independent horror movie House of Good and Evil, which will be released on DVD on April 1st. It’s an American production that starts as a stereotypical horror movie, but eventually it overcomes all the clichés and manages to offer a surprising twist.

House of Good and Evil is about a married young couple, Maggie (Rachel Marie Lewis) who is a painter and Chris Conley (Christian Oliver) a firefighter, who moves into a big house in the middle of nowhere, after a distressed and miserable life in the city. A fight with her abusing and alcoholic husband, results in Maggie losing her unborn baby of eight months, however the two of them decide to make a fresh start leaving their troubled life behind and start over isolated from the busy and nerve-wrecking environment in the city.

His drinking habit, her vulnerability after losing their baby and the oppressive isolation make things even worse for the couple as the first problems start occurring. Arguments, tension and psychical abuse restart, making Maggie feel like nothing has changed. While Chris finds a job in a nearby town forcing him to be many hours away from home, his wife is left alone trying to deal with their new reality.

Maggie’s lonely daily routine revolves around decorating their new home and becoming obsessed with their neighbours; an old couple who lives right next door as the house is split in two. When the Conley’s first moved in, it was made clear to them that there is no electricity and no phone lines, however Maggie can’t stop hearing a phone ringing next door. Unfortunately, being the only one who can hear it, her obsession becomes even worse, causing a lot of drama and fights with Chris.

House of Good and Evil is a confusing horror film, because it is not until the end when the viewer realises whether there is a ghost in the house, or the weird neighbours are evil killers or even ghosts, whether Chris is the villain – with his abusive and violent behavior, or whether Maggie is just going crazy due to her traumatic past memories. That kind of confusion works quite well when it comes to capturing the viewer’s interest, since you constantly keep making assumptions which you have to turn down later, as another character becomes more suspicious.

However, there are a few problems that can be quite discouraging and prevent the viewers from enjoying the film. The performances are not particularly strong and director David Mun probably dropped the ball with the characters’ reactions. The couple is often seen in scenes of complete romance gazing into each other’s eyes and declaring their love and it is only a matter of five seconds until they get so angry and mean to each other. A very sweet scene of Maggie relaxing in the arms of Chris in front of a burning fireplace expressing her love and happiness is followed by her husband’s mad reaction as he angrily smashes a bottle of wine against the wall. Unfortunately, there are numerous such scenes that don’t make much sense. If the purpose was to depict the unstable situation between the married couple and the difficulties they go through due to their problems, the abrupt and crazy mood swings definitely didn’t help.

The storyline itself is particularly interesting and the ending is surprising enough to leave the viewer with a positive feeling. However, the presence of clichés – apparently every horror film with a setting in a secluded house in the woods must include them – is intense; traumatized wife who hears sounds that nobody else can, a husband in disbelief, a house that hides a lot of secrets…or does it?! On the bright side, the ending manages to break all these clichés and give a more realistic tone to the film, so it all comes down to whether the viewer finds it interesting enough to watch it till the end.

Personally, House of Good and Evil is an interesting movie considering it’s a low-budget production. If you begin watching, it is worth waiting till the end. Chances are, you won’t be left completely disappointed.

4 Responses to “NEW DVD RELEASE APRIL 1st : House of Good and Evil (2014) – Review”
  1. thycriticman says:

    Eh…not sure how I feel about the relationship madness where they get along one second, before hating each other the next. Seems like the dude is very easy to despise. May or may not watch this! I’ve seen people who loved it and others who totally hated it. You seem in the middle with it!


    • maria kriva says:

      Haha you’re absolutely right! It was just weird…the lead actress looked at her husband’s eyes and told him how much she loved him and the next minute she started yelling at him…and they went into a huge fight…and then they apologized to each other and made up again…and I was like…”what did just happen?!?”

      I think the ending made up for all the madness and the weirdness, but still it might not be enough to consider it a very good choice. However, it is definitely not one of the worst out there! 😉


      • thycriticman says:

        That is so annoying! I mean, normal relationships are like that sometimes, without the abuse obviously, but still, I am sure things are sorted out way quicker or sillier in the film!

        Oh yes, I can believe that. We both know the worst is not hard to come by in this genre, so we should appreciate what we can!


      • maria kriva says:

        Haha exactly! So, I can’t say I hated it, but certainly it was not the most enjoyable horror film!


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