Check out this new short horror film for you to watch today called Dead House. The movie comes from director Travis Laidlaw and it is based on two men who are renovating a mysterious old house. As they attempt to leave, the building enters lockdown and seals them inside. “Sadly, the house has different plans for them.”
This is a very solid horror movie that has a nightmarishly creepy feel to it. This is definitely a situation that I wouldn’t want to find myself in as it’s filled with all kinds of terrible horrors.
The movie was really shot at an old house that the filmmaking team discovered. It also happens to be the house that director Andy Muschietti shot parts of Stephen King’s It movie in. Laidlaw shot this short right before the It production took over. It’s unquestionably a great location! I added the full story below the short film
Dead House stars Virgil Howarth and Redd Ochoa, and if you’re a fan of horror movies, this is a must watch. Check out the film below and let us know what you think.
Here’s the story of the making of the film and the house that it was shot in:
Dead House began for me a little differently than other projects I have worked on. Instead of starting with an idea for a story, it began with a location. For years I would commute to work on a bus in Toronto and every morning and night I would pass this massive old house on the corner of Pape and Riverdale, seemingly abandoned, or at least left unoccupied. Every time I passed the property I thought it would be a fantastic location to set a film. However, over the years I never really thought too much into it. I was writing projects I wanted to develop but I hadn’t really realized that horror was what I wanted to do next. So the house just remained an interesting thing I passed on the bus.
One day a friend of mine sent me a link to an article featuring the house. The owners of the house had listed it for sale…for $1. Obviously this was some sort of publicity stunt to see what kind of offers they would get, but it shook me. I panicked. I thought in no time a developer would buy the place, level it and put in a condo and I’d miss my chance.
That day I reached out to the owners via email with a simple question: ‘Would they be willing to let me shoot in it’. They were very accommodating and agreed, but the only window they had was in 1 month as the feature film IT (2017) would be coming in and using the location indefinitely. I worked out a deal and on the spot committed to shooting over the course of 3 days roughly 4 weeks from then. And thats when the real panic started. I had a location, sure, but I didn’t have a story, a crew, a budget or any clue what the hell I would do. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had less than 30 days to figure that all out.
I quickly realized that I wanted the house itself to play a major role in the film, be a character itself. I didn’t want to get too consumed by developing a distracting mythology. I wanted a straightforward film with a very obvious objective for the protagonist(s). Almost immediately I realized that I could accomplish this by making it an ‘escape’ film. The charcters want to get out, and the house won’t let them. By focusing the story on simply escaping I could spend my time building tension leading into a number of ‘scares’ instead of trying to explain a complicated story with too much exposition. I could hint at a larger world with subtle hints and clues but keep the film small and honest. I had a very simple backstory for the main character that would feed into his breakdown as he is pulled deeper into the house and the rest was essentially a collection of vignettes that would unfold one after the other leading into the climax. The film was very ambitious but I am ecstatic with what we ended up with. People who have see it in early screenings have said ‘I want to see more!’. And if that isn’t the goal of any filmmaker, to leave an audience wanting more, then I don’t know what is. And guess what…I want to show more!