I’ve had this review in the backburner for quite a while so it was finally time to write this review. It’s a pretty unique film as it’s going for that comedy/horror blend but at times you don’t know which it’s going for. That’s a good thing because it means the blend is working well. Some parts you can definitely tell are being a bit of a parody but other bits are played straight. I wouldn’t call this a great film, but it had some good moments and fun characters. The lead is a good example of a fun character with a lot of humorous moments.
The movie starts off by introducing us to Tom. He seems like a scam artist at first as he tries to get into a club by claiming that he is looking for a friend. He was actually telling the truth though and meets up with Casper. Casper invites Tom to come to his house but says they should travel there separately. His life is in danger and he needs Tom for support. Tom agrees to come, but by the time he arrives Casper is already dead. He is now surrounded by Casper’s rather odd family. All of them have some kind of quirk and nobody is allowed to leave the house. If any member is not present at a specific time every day then he/she will lose their portion of the inheritance. As a result tensions are constantly high and some of them think Tom is here to try and make a claim for it. Can Tom find out who the murderer is before the rest of the family gets bumped off and Tom finds himself 6 feet under?
I’ll give Tom this, he’s a pretty good friend. He goes into what is obviously a very dangerous house just because he wanted to help his friend. It was a long/boring ride all by himself as well and there were not any real upsides to this journey. He was just being a good guy and it ends up costing him his car right away. Tom does his best to tough it out though so the point where he can be a bit slow on the uptake. He was super close to burning himself in acid and just ended up getting lucky. He gets locked in Noah’s arc, gets threatened by just about everyone…..it’s going to be a long trip for him.
I have to deduct some points from Tom for trying to play the field though. Right away he likes Cecily. She tries to get him out of the house before things get dangerous but he is a little slow on the uptake so that doesn’t end up happening. From there Tom is pretty much doomed to stay in the house, but at least he has a friend now right? Well, then Morgana shows up and Tom immediately falls for her as well. You really shouldn’t be falling for two people so easily. You can have crushes on different people at different times, but on the same day? That just shows that Tom isn’t the most loyal guy around. He barely fights his feelings and most times has to get help from Cecily.
The writing was enjoyable and is part of what makes the film work. The characters are reasonable and the humor works pretty well with how absurd it can be at times. Noah’s Ark was definitely the craziest part of the film and probably the only one that will really make you do a double take though. At times it’s hard to believe just how large the estate is. These guys definitely are pretty rich I guess so it’s not a huge stretch but still a little crazy to say the least. Some gags like Tom falling down into the basement are definitely handled pretty well too.
The part about all of the family members needing to be in the room does raise some questions though. Why would they even bother forcing Tom to stay in the house? If they don’t want him to get the money then making sure he is outside makes way more sense. Additionally I don’t see why they always try to make sure everyone is around. The less people in the room the better right? Naturally characters don’t always make the decision that makes sense. It’s not a super serious film like that, but it’s still a fair question. Jasper and his mother look the worst in terms of logic since they know they are in danger and barely seem to care. They really don’t do a good job of trying to hide out or surviving this ordeal.
In comparison Roderick handles this the best. He actually has a gun and talks tough the whole time. He makes a lot of threats and isn’t afraid to call people out. You need that kind of gusto when you’re trapped in a house filled with crazed murderers who can turn on you at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile the least reasonable one was the Uncle who just went around trying to beat Tom up the whole time. Surely he could have picked a better time to do so right? Also he could see that Morgana was the one approaching Tom.
A big part of this film is being a murder mystery so you should try to see if you can guess who the murderer is. There are a good amount of suspects and you get to be introduced to all of them pretty early on in the film which lets you fairly try to guess who the villain is. The film gives you a fair chance to solve this so at the end of the day you’ll need to trust your instincts on this. Put yourself in the main character’s position and just remember that choosing the right answer is a matter of life and death.
Overall, The Old Dark House is an appropriate name for the film. All of the scenes take place in this house once Tom arrives after all and the place is pretty dark. If you are in the mood for a solid parody with a lot happening at all times then this is the film for you. The body count does begin to increase so there are real stakes at play here. There is a sense of danger because Tom can never really let his guard down. This is a strange film, but it surprisingly just ends up working out.