Movie review of “The Charnel House”: This predictable but polished horror potboiler has an interesting take on the doppelgänger theme. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
A horror movie titled “The Charnel House” certainly suggests carnage galore.
But this efficient if predictable potboiler by genre director Craig Moss (the Danny Trejo-starring “Bad Ass” trilogy) is relatively easygoing in the bloodletting department.
“The Charnel House” moves along fairly briskly, drawing on bits of inspiration from “The Shining” and “Poltergeist,” while adding an interesting twist to a doppelgänger theme.
Movie Review ★★
‘The Charnel House,’ with Callum Blue, Erik LaRay Harvey, Makenzie Moss, Nadine Velazquez, Alden Tab. Directed by Craig Moss, from a screenplay by Emanuel Isler and Chad Israel. 90 minutes. Rated R for violence, themes. Sundance Cinemas (21+).
Moss loses momentum only when he detours into a big explanation behind spooky nastiness. (Thriller filmmakers rarely learn from the less-is-more Hitchcock.)
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A viewer may well go a meatless night or two given the story. An old slaughterhouse, where many cattle came to a grisly end, has been converted into an upscale dwelling with rental lofts full of voice-activated conveniences.
Grim images from those earlier years of butchery are part of the now-refurbished building’s haunted legacy, eerily showing up on flat screens that seem attached to every wall.
But there’s more. Three decades ago, a serial killer was secretly active in the bowels of the slaughterhouse, and there is unfinished business about that on a spectral level.
The karmic mess from all this history affects the present-day, shiny young family who bought the factory, transformed it and now live in one of its newly opened apartments.
Alex (Callum Blue) is the visionary developer and attentive dad who slowly transforms into something evil; Charlotte (Nadine Velazquez) is his concerned, artistic wife; and Mia (Makenzie Moss) is their lonely young daughter, who befriends a spirit in one of those wall monitors.
Netflix series “Luke Cage” actor Erik LaRay Harvey is largely on hand to link the past and current stories through his character’s hidden agenda, though he is a sharp, welcome presence.
He’s one reason “The Charnel House” is watchable, even if you can tell very soon what’s really going on behind mysterious doings.