Richard Waters deserves some credit for In a Stranger’s House. He wrote, produced, directed and starred in it. That’s a huge undertaking and it makes it clear that this found-footage movie is his baby. That makes slamming it a bit harder but slam it we must.
Why? Because In a Stranger’s House copies everything done in found footage to date and doesn’t even try to improve on the majority of complaints people have with that style.
The story has some basis in reality in that it uses the hundreds of people that go missing after answering online ads as its source for horror. In November of 2017 a broken video camera and phone were found in a recycling centre. The footage on both is what we’re about to watch.
Richard (Richard Waters) answers an online ad, one that involves house-sitting in the remote countryside. An easy gig it seems, so to stave off the boredom he decides to vlog his entire stay there. What he didn’t expect to capture were the strange events that start to occur around and outside the house.
So, let’s talk about Richard at first. Other then a brief shot of the owner of the house, he is the only character we see. It’s a hefty task for Waters and while his character is bland, his acting is decent. He reacts accordingly at first but when really strange things occur his logic-making goes out the window.
I understand not running away the moment you hear a noise but when chanting is heard from a room that has no-one in it, a picture of him with symbols drawn on it is found and a doll keeps moving position impossibly, it’s time to peace out. Richard kind of takes it in his stride, goes to bed and talks about it the next day.
It doesn’t seem to scare him. Maybe that’s because he has also seen every scare attempt this movie has hundreds of times.
He films everything too it seems. To the point of annoyance as even getting up to grab a charger involves him taking the camera with him. It’s the kind of silliness we’ve come to expect with found footage horror. In 2018 it’s not ok though. Nor is how unwatchable the movie is a lot of the time. The finale in particular goes on for ages and it’s got so much shaky cam, out of focus shots and bad sound that it’s likely to make you throw up. Why does realism come at the cost of your movie being watchable?
When it finally does end, it does so in the most ‘is that it?’ way possible. You’re left with way too many questions that in a better movie you might want answered. Here it’s just kind of a relief that it’s over especially as the high-pitched whine that comes with the destroyed camera is loud and jarring enough to send my cat racing out of the room.
That’s not scary, that’s just annoying.
In A Stranger's House
The Final Score - 2/10