Released Sept. 20, 2018
Unrated (borderline R rating for language and horror imagery) – 1hr 29min
Directed by Stephen Cognetti
Starring Vasile Flutur, Jillian Geurts
Eight years after the events of Hell House LLC, an investigative blogger and her team, along with a paranormal investigator and a survivor from the first film, sneak back into the titular hotel searching for answers despite every piece of evidence they have suggesting that it is a terrible idea. Bad shit happens to them.
A found-footage mockumentary like the original, but this one is all over the place. The first half is more an anthology of micro-movies surrounded by a disjointed collection of interviews and excerpts from a cable TV program featuring more interviews with some of this entry’s central characters. Not until the second half does the movie start moving forward with any new narrative to speak of.
Fucking fuck – this was bad. This was one of the bigger steps backward from original to sequel that I’ve seen in a while, and the first Hell House wasn’t exactly a classic. It competently used the found footage format to tell a passable story that was boosted by the novelty of having a fake Halloween-attraction haunted house set inside a legitimately cursed haunted house. That’s a neat idea, and with this second entry, it’s completely gone. We’re left with the less interesting elements and that’s where things slide downhill fast.
The Abaddon Hotel is just madly in love with its own backstory. It just can’t tell you enough about each and every time someone has snuck inside with a camera to be confronted by an ominous figure with milky contact lenses and tattered clothing – cue the screams and panicked shaking. I guess this is all supposed to amount to a fascinating mythology about an intensely interesting series of events, but it doesn’t. I’ve read creepypastas that had more going on narrative-wise than Hell House does, and attempts to bulk things up at the end of this second entry only makes things worse.
I want to try to find something good to say here, but I’m at a loss. In the first film, the acting was suitable for what was needed, which wasn’t particularly demanding. Here, with the greater amount of roles involved in attempting to expand the ‘fictional universe’, the efforts are uneven, with one so bad, she seems to be reading her lines from cue cards like they’re passages from a textbook in chemistry class. The scares are almost nonexistent, as they are essentially copied and pasted from the first film – these demons have a shallow bag of tricks, it seems. And then, there’s a big reveal to kick off the third act that is so cheap and anticlimactic, that I had a truly good laugh at its expense. It’s like being promised steak all day and then tossed a steak-flavored dog bone. If it ended there, I might’ve re-evaluated this as some kind of high-concept meta-satire, but then came the groan-worthy villain monologue and ridiculous plot twist after.
I really don’t know what happened here. Supposedly, writer/director Cognetti conceived Hell House as a trilogy(?), but from this, it’s obvious he should’ve gone with one-and-done. The first was a charming little Halloween ghost story that made decent use of the mockumentary concept. This is a steaming pile. He could’ve ran with any plain conventional story, done it in found footage, and, if he made it as well as the first film, it would’ve been better than this by default. I’d like to give it the worst possible grade, but it is still, at the absolute least, a functional movie. However, I might be going too easy on it.
Hell House LLC II gets a