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“House of Screaming Glass” Fails to Make Impact

Written by: Patrick Howard | May 19th, 2024

House of Screaming Glass (David R. Williams, 2024) 1½ out of 5 stars

An endearing quality found in a horror film is the ability to create terrifying frights with little to no money; it might as well be a cornerstone of the genre. John Carpenter redefined the slasher subgenre with Halloween and that film had an estimated budget of only $325,000. However, something more than minuscule funding is needed to inspire creativity and imagination.

There is no denying that David R. Williams’ House of Screaming Glass captures the spirit of an indie horror film willing to take risks and be truly experimental with its material. However, despite Williams’ long directorial history, the craft on display never reaches past amateurish levels, thus nullifying any potential scares it hopes to inflict on the audience. In his review of the 2000 science-fiction blunder, Battlefield Earth, Roger Ebert wrote, “The director, Roger Christian, has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt their cameras, but he has not learned why.”

Lani Call in HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS ©Razor Wire Alchemy

Williams knows that horror filmmakers like John Carpenter use long, unbroken takes to create tension but doesn’t understand that there needs to be a satisfying payoff at the end of it all. It’s possible to persuade viewers to stick with a slow-paced story and a satisfying conclusion, but there have to be engaging thrills and terror throughout the middle to make the choice of a snail’s pace worth it.

Lani Call plays Elizabeth, a young woman who has lived an isolated life under the eye of her mentally fractured mother. When that mother dies, Elizabeth receives an inheritance in the form of a dilapidated schoolhouse. The longer Elizabeth stays in the schoolhouse, the more disturbing the visions and nightmares she is forced to experience become, with no escape in sight. Sadly, there is no escape for us, either.

Lani Call in HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS ©Razor Wire Alchemy

Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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