Road Rash Reviews

Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor (Shudder) Review****-

Cert 18 | 99 mins | 2023

4 star highly effective and scary horror tale.

Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor is a 2023 American found footage horror film, written and directed by Stephen Cognetti (Hell House LLC 1, 2 and 3).

The fourth instalment in the popular franchise, this one takes place after the events of the third film but also serves as a prequel to the original, offering insights into the back story. It works well as a stand alone film if you haven’t watched the previous ones, this is scary in it’s own right.

It is a Shudder Original, available to stream on Shudder from 30th October 2023.

“Outside family, very few people were ever granted permission to stay in the house for an extended period of time, until Margot Bentley.”

As the film opens, we see a documentary style introduction from Bradley (Darin F. Earl II – Ripples of Water) and Alice (Searra Sawka – Brave the Dark), whose presentation of their friends video footage frames the entire story.

Online cold case investigator Margot (Bridget Rose Perrotta) is back on the job, this time looking at the Carmichael Manor in Rockland, New York. Along with her girlfriend Rebecca (Destiny Leilani Brown) they have been given permission to stay at the remote house for five nights to investigate the infamous Carmichael Murders. They are also joined by Margot’s mentally unstable brother Chase (James Lidell – First Contact).

It’s 1989 and Eleanor (Marlene Williams) and Arthur (Robert Savakinus) Carmichael, a very rich family, live in the house with their two daughters Margaret (Victoria Andrunik – Angel’s Blade) and Catherine (Cayla Berejikian) and son Patrick (Gideon Berger – The Hid). Margaret is tragically killed in a car accident and Partick, who was driving, loses the use of his arm. Not long afterwards, Eleanor and Catherine are found brutally stabbed in their beds and Arthur and Patrick vanish without a trace and Arthur is the prime suspect.

Margot, Rebecca and Chase get stuck into their investigations but soon start to find strange things. There are three scary mannequins dressed in clown costumes in a locked room. They also find connections in an old clock found in a nearby antique store, recovered from the ruins of The Abaddon Hotel. They soon realise the rumours of haunting are all too real and the assembled footage tells their story.

“I am sorry, by the way, about all the time constraints. Some of our estate overseers just want this place to be completely closed off to the public. Liability concerns.”

Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor is an excellent horror film and a valuable addition to the franchise. The new location revitalises the story as well as offering insights into what was going on in the local area in the eighties, during the time of the abandonment of the hotel used as the backdrop for the first film.

It’s a great location which lends itself admirably to tension building and jump scares, both of which are plentiful and well executed. The cast of relative newcomers do very well with the script and give believable performances. I quite often find the handheld camera format a little intrusive, but in this case it works brilliantly, with some of the biggest scares taking place behind our characters, that only we can see.

This is a scary film, and should probably be avoided by anyone with a clown phobia, but it’s a must watch for fans of the franchise and scary enough to stand up on it’s own.

“Well, Margot. You really picked a winner with this place. Let’s just hope that we all live to tell the tale.”

Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor is streaming now on Shudder

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DirectorStephen Cognetti
StarringBridget Rose Perrotta, Destiny Leilani Brown, James Liddell, Darin F. Earl II, Searra Sawka
Category: Digital, film, Review, Shudder