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[Review] Blumhouse’s ‘A House on the Bayou’ Makes for a Dull Dinner Party Too Invested in Its Twists

[Review] Blumhouse’s ‘A House on the Bayou’ Makes for a Dull Dinner Party Too Invested in Its Twists

A distant location and uninvited visitors make for a tension-filled situation that would encourage quite a lot of chills and thrills. A Home on the Bayou makes use of that to its benefit, shrouding its horrors in thriller. Attempting to guess what is occurring retains you on the hook for some time, however the extra the solutions circulation, the much less fascinating this thriller turns into.

A Home on the Bayou opens with a marital confrontation. Jessica Chambers (Angela Sarafyan) calmly waits for her husband, John (Paul Schneider), to reach residence from work so she will be able to demand a confession of his extramarital affair. John solely admits his adultery when Jessica reveals tangible proof, then shortly agrees to his spouse’s calls for. Jessica doesn’t desire a divorce; she desires to keep up their household and their life-style. Jessica desires to maintain her daughter Anna (Lia McHugh) sheltered from the strife and plans a household retreat at an remoted property within the Louisiana bayou as a part of reparations. Tensions simmer then explode when over-friendly neighbors Isaac (Jacob Lofland) and his Grandpappy (Doug Van Liew) invite themselves for dinner.

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Author/Director Alex McAulay makes an attempt to instill ambiguity from the outset. John would be the adulterer, however he’s offered as mild-mannered and extra desirous to please, whereas Jessica is the icier, extra assertive of the pair. To maintain allegiances from shifting wholly to Jessica, she comes throughout as emotionally manipulative; she makes use of tears and guilt to coerce John into complacency. The uncertainty will get additional exacerbated with the arrival of their undesirable visitors. Isaac and Grandpappy appeared to know extra about the home and its present inhabitants than they need to, however McAulay desires to stretch out the reveals behind the menace to the Chambers. Is there one thing supernatural afoot or easy psychosis, and what does Isaac need?

However the characters and mysteries are superficial at greatest. As soon as solutions begin coming, a doubtlessly intriguing horror-thriller descends right into a lackluster cautionary story. Lofland nails sleazy Southern attraction however can’t imbue Isaac with the otherworldly menace the script asks of him. Van Liew and McHugh fare the worst as non-existent supporting gamers used every time the narrative wants them, nothing roughly. Anna contributes nothing to the story outdoors of giving Isaac a foothold into the Chambers residence and giving her dad and mom a cause to struggle again. Whereas it’s clear that subsequent reveals are supposed to shift how we really feel about John and Jessica, there’s nothing extra to their character arcs than a change within the ethical scales.

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McAulay drives residence what’s taking place with a heavy hand by the third act however by no means fleshes out the foundations for this eccentric world. The bloody demise of 1 character shortly will get undermined with puzzling questions of why and the way. A Home on the Bayou will get so fixated on its punchline that every part else falls flat. McAulay works exhausting to keep up an enigmatic ambiance that each one different components wind up too obscure. The mansion and bayou setting solely actually matter as a late throwaway clarification. Your entire story hinges on the messy relationship between John and Jessica, utilizing it to wring stress. As soon as the reality comes out, the strain deflates, and the narrative falls aside. The ultimate hook lands with a thud.

It’s the makes an attempt at horror that unravel A Home on the Bayou. McAulay does attempt to do one thing new with a well-recognized setup that sees unwelcome visitors worm their means contained in the short-term quarters of a household in disaster. As soon as inside, although, it stalls then flounders with an underdeveloped concept that fails to engender any sympathy or curiosity. It’s extra targeted on its twists than its characters, making it a boring nightmare for viewers.

A Home on the Bayou releases on VOD and EPIX on November 19, 2021.

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