HELL HOUSE LLC III: LAKE OF FIRE (2019)
Shudder Exclusive takes place nine years after the events of the first film with a new chapter of the story told with new footage. We find that the Abaddon Hotel was finally set to be demolished after all the death and disappearances that have occurred there. It was suddenly purchased in 2018 by entrepreneur Russell Wynn (Gabriel Chytry) to be used to stage his performance show Insomnia. He asked the new host of Morning Mysteries, Vanessa Shepherd (Elizabeth Vermilyea) to cover the set-up of the show with his cast and crew, leading up to opening night. It’s mostly her footage we are witnessing, as once again spooky things are documented occurring at the infamous location, leading up to an opening performance where all Hell breaks loose…literally.
Supposed final film in what is now the Hell House LLC trilogy is once again written and directed by Stephen Cognetti. It’s an improvement over the somewhat disappointing Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel, though not as consistently creepy as the spooky surprise that was the first flick. To a degree it’s more of the same, with a documentary showing footage that was filmed while folks tried to do something spooky within the house and paid dearly for it. The last act does open things up and takes things in a more “Biblical” direction and it’s a matter of horror film preference as to whether one finds it effective, or too over-the-top. Cognetti does build some tension, atmosphere and provide some chills here, despite this being the third go around, and even if the novelty has warn off, he gets credit for taking some risks to conclude his trilogy. The hotel location is as creepy as ever and the cast of unknowns all perform well enough to assist in the suspension of disbelief that this is real footage. There are also some amusing cameos from the other installments that won’t be spoiled here.
Overall, it’s an entertaining finale and while some of it’s wrap-up worked and some of it wasn’t so successful, Cognetti proves he is a filmmaker to keep an eye on. He still can chill with his now familiar format and there is a surprise or two that play with expectations. Hopefully his next film abandons the tired found footage genre and gives us some straight up horror to see what he really has up his sleeve. Most certainly worth a watch, especially if you are a fan.
Rated 3 (out of 4) scary clown mannequins…who are still in that darn cellar.