Greetings, readers. When I received a package of screeners from Wes, this film in particular caught my eye — a ghost story drawing inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Unfortunately, given the amount of overtime I was working at the factory this past week, I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach this film until the weekend. Now here it is, Saturday morning, I’ve been awake for less then an hour, but I am ready to tackle this film.
Meet Kate Stone, aka music sensation Nicky Tarot. Or, former music sensation Nicky Tarot. A tragic accident has cut short her music career, and she has returned home to a city of ex-fans and ex-friends. Only one friend, artist Robyn, is willing to return her calls, and Kate moves in to the aging apartment building Robyn owns.
As Kate struggles to put her life back into order, she begins not only meeting the other artistically-inclined inhabitants of the apartment building but hearing strange noises as well…above and beyond (very, very far beyond) what one would normally hear in an aging building. Soon reality begins to unravel around Kate as she struggles with the ghosts of her own past and those of the building.
HOUSE OF BLACK WINGS is something of a mixed-bag for me, readers. I loved the story. I love the lead character struggling with her own internal demons while also uncovering the mystery of the apartment building, the familial secrets long buried and slowly unveiling themselves to her through a series of dreams and subtle influences on the behavior of those around her. While loosely inspired by such work as Lovecraft’s “The Rats in the Walls,” “Dreams in the Witch-House” and “Pickman’s Model” and Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” it ultimately rises above it’s influences as a wholly original piece of horror fiction.
The lead actresses (Leah Myette as Kate/Nicky, Katherine Herrera as Robyn) have a really good chemistry as friends and victims of the house. The cinematography is beautiful, and the special effects are excellent as well.
Where the film falls short for me, though, is in the editing. I can see what they’re trying to do — It’s meant to be a slow-building suspenseful film. Unfortunately, for me, it builds a little too slowly, and at times the film starts to really drag. I think the film could probably be tightened by about 10 minutes, maintain it’s cosmic-horror vibe and keep moving enough that the viewer’s attention does not waver.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed HOUSE OF BLACK WINGS and think it’s well worth a watch, especially for those of you big on Lovecraft. It’s largely a subtle, character-driven tale of madness and despair, though towards the end it picks up with some nicely handled violent action — not enough to satisfy the truly dedicated gorehound, but providing a surprise contrast to the rest of the film. I say watch it.