With the third and final outing in the House series, or the fourth if one were to count The Horror Show, it was an attempt to capture the magic of the first film and it was by all accounts, a valiant effort. There was a teeny, tiny bit of horror present which was a good thing and though there were intentions of delivering a little comedy alongside it, almost all of it fell completely flat, not being funny in the slightest. More than anything, the picture was highly melodramatic and for the most part at least, it captured one’s attention enough to make it all the way through, but it definitely would have prospered with a few more scares and possibly a bigger threat.
The house of this picture is the Cobb family home with William Katt returning as Roger for this final entry. It starts off well with a little mystery and some tragedy and goes on to feature his new wife Kelly as played by Terri Treas. Kelly ends up moving in to the old home with her daughter after the passing of her husband and it seems idyllic, as much as a rotting old structure can be, until her brother-in-law starts tormenting her and pressuring her to sell the place. Enter some spirits and a little magic, an evil dwarf and a little payback and for the most part, the film ends up being fairly entertaining.
Unlike the previous films where the threats to the protagonists were all from supernatural forces – usually ghosts of some sort, this movie went a different route and went with a human menace. It is a bold move as the series has become known for some fairly gruesome spirits haunting whoever the lead might be and while more often than not, mankind is its own worst enemy – delivering cruelties that can boggle the mind, in this film, the villain as portrayed by Scott Burkholder is not very threatening or frightening. It was definitely a wrong move for the director Lewis Abernathy and the writers of this movie to take, but such as it was, it was not absolutely terrible.
House IV is a decent picture, but it was by far the weakest of the four movies. It was missing much of what made the previous films successful, whether that was a sense of mystery, some potent horror or even a few actual laughs and that ultimately was a bit of a shame. On the plus side, it was compelling and interesting enough to warrant the time to watch it, but not enough to ever see it again.
3 out of 5