Claire (Meghan Ory) is a college student with a dark past: when she was a young child, she witnessed local kid-hoarder Mrs. Darrode (Diane Salinger) kill her seven foster children. As an adult, Claire has to take medication; unfortunately, this cuts her off from her emotions, which disrupts her chosen profession of acting. Her therapist suggests she visit the Darrode house and face her fears. She gets her chance when her acting class: token Black guy Eldon, light-haired white guy Bruce, dark-haired white guy Rudy, evil girl Ariel, and goth Lily are invited to work as actors there for “king of horror haunts” Walston Ray (Jeffrey Combs), who is making the house into a Disneyland-meets-Winchester House, with holograms. Alas, the show goes awry when Mrs. Darrode invades the computer system and makes the holograms real and able to kill. It’s up to Claire and her pals to put a stop to Mrs. Darrode’s haunted hijinks.
It’s pretty standard fare; the characters are unremarkable, and the plot isn’t very original. It does have occasional creepy moments, like the children praying during the opening credits, which cuts to blood-spattered dolls. It’s also a mite disturbing when Mrs. Darrode puts her hands in the garbage disposal. There’s also the scene when Claire’s memory of Mrs. Darrode looks at her and says, “What the fuck are you looking at?”
But kinda cool things are phased out by the unpleasantries. For example the presence of a predatory lesbian character with eyes for Ariel, who refers to herself as “dyke bait.” Furthermore, Mrs. Darrode is mostly too overdone to be really scary, the one-liners are annoying, and the twist ending doesn’t make any sense. It’s also less than logical, even for a horror movie. One wonders why Mrs. Darrode chose to pick off her victims one by one, instead of all at once, which is her M.O. (besides that it would end the movie abruptly.) Then there are the amazing tech-savvy spirits who possess the machinery; if ghosts ever start looking for something constructive to do after death, there seems to be a bustling career in IT for them. Anywho, give the movie a look if you’re in the mood for a watered-down House on Haunted Hill.