All Through the House (2015)

December 28, 2016 - 12:32am | Ryan Tutolo

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Todd Nunes
Ashley Mary Nunes, Jessica Cameron, Melynda Kiring

So we’ve had lots of different kinds of holiday horror movies. Spoofs, supernatural terrors, anthologies, low budget, medium budget, big budget (well as big budget as horror gets), we’ve covered them all. One sorely missing from this list is a good old fashioned traditional slasher. I mean a movie where the highlight is just the kills, there are some random scantily clad characters running around, and the movie tries to play off that there will be some big twist, but the outcome is as obvious as you originally thought. This is All Through the House.

The plot of All Through the House is about as straight forward as a slasher can get. A woman who lives with her grandmother offers to help the creepy old lady up the street decorate for Christmas. She recruits a few of her 30 something friends to help in the decorating. Meanwhile, a psycho dressed as Santa is stabbing his way through town anytime anyone tries to get a little sexy time started on Christmas. It’s up to Rachel to find the identity of the killer, figure out why this crazy old lady is so crazy, and unravel a 15 year mystery involving her childhood friend. Also, she should try to avoid being stabbed in the face with garden shears.

Positives first, the kills in the movie are fantastic. They’re not the most original kills I’ve ever seen, but this movie is meant to pay homage to the traditional 80s slashers and it succeeds greatly. The killer’s main weapon is a pair of hedge clippers that are used to stab slice and cut just about everything you can expect a pair of shears to cut on the human body. The practical effects of these kills are great and right up front for the camera to see. Any horror nut who knows anything can appreciate the care put into these kills. There’s also a ton of blood used and I love it! It’s never just a little trickle coming from the side of a mouth, we get a torrent pouring from them and the walls constantly being splattered.

I also really liked the killer Santa costume. The addition of the greasy ash-like face really makes this Santa stand out from the others you see in countless Christmas slashers. The whole set design is done really well also. Super creepy Santa mannequins are around the main house including some nice lighting that makes every room pop. If you take the time to look around each room in the house, you’ll notice things in the background that are never really the focus but certainly add to the false cheer and certainly give that creepy feeling on the back of your neck.

It’s not all peaches and candy canes though. The acting is truly awful. There isn’t one performance that I wouldn't classify as “bad”. I’m not familiar with any of the cast, but needless to say I wasn’t impressed. There were also a few botched lines that could easily have been edited out or re-shot. It feels like every take was a one-and-done, Roger Corman style. The one great segment comes from Melynda Kiring playing Mrs. Garrett. She has so much physicality in scenes taking on the killer I couldn’t help but be impressed. She’s not really old but she’s also no spring chicken and seeing this woman get tossed about and wrestling a maniac in a Santa costume is awe-inspiring.

I’ve complained about it in the past but it seems as if no filmmaker is listening to me. When you have kills, but the characters aren’t set up, the audience is ambivalent to their deaths. Characterization is HUGE in horror movies and in slashers it is particularly important. The first few sets of kills are just random people that we’ve never seen being dispatched in various ways but we don’t know how we should feel about their deaths at all. All of the “terror” we should be feeling is dissipated.

The ending isn’t a huge surprise as all the puzzle pieces are setup for anyone paying attention to the plot. Some of the underlying themes about gender and the way each sex is treated are interesting but ultimately they’re not expanded upon enough. It seems as if the director had something he wanted to say but didn’t want anyone to think his slasher was too deep so he pulled back on the themes. It’s a shame because I like a little hidden depth in my movies.

It’s a trope as of late to describe your movie as an 80’s slasher throwback. All Through the House certainly accomplishes this with all the positives and negatives that come along with it. Terrible acting and character building don’t ruin the movie, but they certainly don’t help.

Author Information

Ryan Tutolo's picture
Ryan Tutolo is a horror movie lover and host of the UHM Podcast. Follow him on Twitter and let him know why his reviews suck!




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