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HELL HOUSE LLC II: THE ABADDON HOTEL (2018)

Directed by Stephen Cognetti
Written by Stephen Cognetti
Starring Vasile Flutur, Jillian Geurts, Joy Shatz, Dustin Austen, Brian David Tracy, Kyle Ingleman, Amanda K. Morales, Laura Frenzer, Danny Bellini, Tom Sibley, Lauren A. Kennedy, Adam Schneider, Alice Bahlke, Gore Abrams, Alex Beechko, Jared Hacker, Ryan Jennifer Jones, Joe Bandelli
Find out more about this film on Twitter @HellhouseLLC

While I really loved HELL HOUSE LLC., the sequel seems to undercut just about everything good in the original either due to excess or over disposition. It feels as if the filmmakers are trying to not only do a sequel, but build a world. An ambitious goal, but I think it loses sight of what made the original so cool by doing so.

What’s the premise?

Eight years after the event of HELL HOUSE LLC., an ambitious reporter (Jillian Geurts) and a small investigative team break into the house due to a mysterious lead that some unseen footage can be found somewhere in the house. What they find are more of the same shocks and surprises from the original, as well as the entity that may be the cause of it all.

Are the actors believably acting like they aren’t acting?
While this new cast do an ok job, they are nowhere near as fun to follow as the cast of the first film. The original cast had a repartee between one another that can only be developed when you know someone for a significant amount of time (as I believe was the case with the original). With the cast of Part II, it’s all a bit more clunky with some of the cast forced to be recap machines in order to fill in the blanks or catch up new viewers who might have missed the original. While some of this discourse is taken care of through clips from the previous film and interviews with experts and witnesses, these moments where key characters are needed to divulge new information is rather clunky in the delivery and stall the momentum of the film to a hault.

Is there an up-nose BLAIR WITCH confessional or a REC-drag away from the camera?
There are definitely some tear-filled monologues here as the news team realizes that they are trapped in the hotel. And some folks are dragged away by unseen forces, but that is the least of the problems with HELL HOUSE LLC II. The film doesn’t so much as lift from other found footage films as it repeats some of the scares from the original film.

Does is seem like this footage was actually found and not untouched by additional production (which means there is no omniscient editor making multiple edits or an invisible orchestra providing music)?
Again, this film is put together by unseen forces in a documentary style format. In doing so, the cuts between different cameras and formats are somewhat justified. The edits are fast and loose towards the end when the shit really hits the fan, but for the most part, you are so caught up in the action that these directorial decisions are less noticeable.

Is there a valid reason the camera isn’t dropped and they just get the hell out of there?
Yes. These guys are being paid to film everything as catching paranormal stuff is what they are there for. So dropping the camera isn’t really an option because they are being paid to not do that. That said, these cameramen sure are dedicated as if I were given the choice of dropping the camera and running for my life or keep filming and catching the footage, I’d turn tail with a quickness. Still, this is the mentality of camera man as seen in many warzone reporters, so I’ll buy it.

Is the lead in too long and the payoff too short?
This is a little more noticeable as the film really feels as if it is repeating the notes played in the original. The film veers from the course towards the end, but even then, the film has the “villain” monologue with his intended victims simply to catch up the viewer. This is lazy writing and should have been incorporated somehow in the story rather than ending the film with an info dump.

Does anything actually happen?
The next chapter of this film happens. It’s not as thrilling as the original, but it still has quite a few well done scares. Again, a group of people go into the Abbadon Hotel with intentions to gain fame and fortune (and the big story). Again they regret that decision because of the supernatural forces surrounding the hotel. Stuff happens, but we’ve seen it before.

Does the film add anything to the subgenre and is this one worth watching?
Fans of the original will find HELL HOUSE LLC. II: THE ABADDON HOTEL interesting, but I really think it also feels somewhat unnecessary as nothing is added that wasn’t done better in the original. The filmmakers want to expand the story, but I think they were distracted with making sure everyone is caught up to speed before doing so. The whole thing feels like too much handholding by the writer, leading the viewer along with long speeches and justifications for decisions and actions. That said, even though it feels familiar, compared to other films in the found footage genre, this one is a decent film.