I love ghost movies, and if done correctly, I personally find them to be the scariest horror sub genre. There’s just something so unsettling about malevolent spirits, something you cannot see or touch, something that plays by their own rules in this world. And while ghosts personally scare me more than almost anything else, that’s not initially the case for the leads in the new supernatural horror film “Dwelling,” who intentionally move into a haunted house to connect to the spiritual world.
Synopsis: “Dwelling”, is a paranormal horror film about a young woman, Ellie (Erin Marie Hogan), who deliberately buys a haunted house in attempt to make contact with the spirit world. Driven by a horrific experience in her past involving her sister, River (Devanny Pinn), Ellie is willing to put herself and family at risk to seek the truth. In doing so, Ellie releases a soul that is more malevolent and terrifying than she could ever imagine. Something dwells in the house called Amara…and it wants to get out.
“Dwelling” is an impressive directorial debut from writer/director Kyle Mecca. It’s stylish and creepy from the first shot to the last, and legit had me jumping. Pair that with a bone chilling score and haunting performances from the cast, “Dwelling” is a creepy little gem that’s on par with bigger films. Watch this with the lights out for sure.
While “Dwelling” works as a ghost film, I also enjoyed it because it works on the character level as well. We may have seen films where a couple moves into a haunted house before, but the depth in these characters made this film gripping. The fact that this couple intentionally moved into this house adds a fun new element to it that I can’t recall seeing in a ghost film before, and also blurs the lines between who you want to root for. I love films that make me question the motivation of each character, and “Dwelling” does this very well. This especially works based on the strength of the films cast, for which there really wasn’t a weak link.
Erin Marie Hogan takes command of the screen in every scene and gives us a character that’s truly intriguing to watch and full of layers. This is one of Hogan’s strongest performances, both in the softer scenes as well as when shit totally hits the fan. This performance is a major factor in why I found this film successful, but she’s definitely not alone.
Devanny Pinn as the disturbed River brings some real intensity to her role, which left me feeling disturbed at several moments throughout the film. You can tell that Pinn gets really invested in her characters, as whenever I have seen her in a film I am riveted. The dynamic between Pinn and Hogan is really special in this film, and seeing them on screen together again was a real treat. (The pair also appeared together in Brandon Slagle’s “House of Manson,” another film we greatly enjoyed).
Lastly, Mu-Shaka Benson as the rational husband Gavin is especially heartfelt and believable, and potentially the character I sympathized with the most. Some strong choices, natural delivery and great direction make this trio of leads the thing that pushes this film into a higher category than other indie ghost flicks. I found myself fully invested in this cast and film.
I love ghost films and I don’t say this lightly: this film creeped me out throughout. Major props to writer/director Kyle Mecca – this film is an early indication of a promising filmmaker with sharp vision. Now stop dwelling on this review and see the movie for yourself!
“Dwelling” is now available to purchase exclusively at your local Wal-Mart, or you can pre-order the DVD here.