Newest edition to the ‘Hell House LLC’ franchise has fans terrified

If someone were to be crowned the king or queen of found footage horror, it would be writer and director Stephen Cognetti.

In 2015, Cognetti released “Hell House LLC,” one of my absolute favorite scary movies and one of the scariest horror films to date. “Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel” followed in 2018, and “Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire” in 2019. These documentary-style found footage films are so well done by Cognetti. 

The first film was incredible. It had me looking both ways before stepping out of my room into the hallway at night. The second and third movies, however, did not live up to the level of fright that the original brought. While still chilling, the eeriness was just not the same. 

But, the newest movie in the franchise, “Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor,” is just as scary, if not scarier than the first. 

This film featured a main cast of three: true crime fanatic Margot, her brother Chase and her girlfriend Rebecca as they stay for five nights in a haunted manor where a family murder occurred. 

Of course, this case turns out to be a lot darker than they expected, and it all ties back to the original “Hell House LLC.” One could have guessed it would circle back, based on the fact that “Origins” is in the title, but the details were so creatively put in. 

As an audience member, it felt like I was there solving the mystery and putting the pieces together too. Sometimes I feel like movies have a hard time putting these details from previous movies in, but this was done, dare I say, perfectly.

The performances were also good, but not Toni Collette of “Hereditary” or Daniel Kaluuya of “Get Out” good. Bridget Rose Perrotta and Destiny Leilani Brown, who acted in the roles of Margot and Rebecca, did a fantastic job portraying fear, anxiety and absolute distress, Brown especially.

A lot of reviews for the film painted Margot as an annoying and inconsiderate character, but to me, that was exactly the point. Perrotta did an excellent job portraying a character who will stop at nothing to get the truth they want, even if it means jeopardizing their relationships along the way.

James Liddell, who played Chase, was not as convincing in his performance as his co-stars were, and I felt he could have been a little more alarmed throughout the film. I also would have liked to see some more emotion and tone from Gideon Berger, who played Patrick Carmichael.

The last 20 minutes of this movie were terrifying. I had to turn my light on before finishing it, and this is coming from someone who watches “Ghost Adventures” to fall asleep and whose favorite movie of all time is “Halloween.”

“I was not expecting this to be this good,” said Letterboxd user @Austin. “There’s real solid tension, emotion, scares, and lore building here, all without stumbling over itself.”

The music throughout the film was also great, as it fit every situation and was used to build that sense of uneasiness in the audience.

While I did love the movie, the acting and slow build in the beginning led me to remove one star. However, I do recommend this franchise to any horror fans — if they can handle it.

For the next couple of days, I will be leaving the hallway light on and locking my bedroom door. Thank you Cognetti!


4 / 5 Stars


Featured photo courtesy of @Shudder, X