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By Luce

House of Salem

A home invasion takes a supernatural turn in House of Salem (2016), in which the abductors of a wealthy couple's young son discover the sinister underpinnings of their mysterious client's intentions when the history of the house in which they're keeping the child slowly reveals years of terror.

House of Salem, while not entirely unique in its premise, rises above various generic pitfalls through the strength and compatibility of the cast, the increasingly ambitious storyline, and the engaging atmosphere and visuals. Jessica Arterton (Nancy) and Jack Brett Anderson (Jack) display both chilling practicality and youthful vulnerability in their roles as teenage kidnappers, and Liam Kelly (Josh) shines as the terrified but resilient captive child. The plot is well-paced, and the story's action and horror rises smoothly throughout the film. The dark and increasingly surreal atmosphere brings to mind such films as Sinister and a more realized version of The Wake, and certain shots in the film are memorably chilling.

The weaknesses of House of Salem are few in number, but are significant. The plot, while generally engaging, fails to bring a significant amount of uniqueness in comparison to similar movies within the genre, and the ending feels slightly incomplete (although this may have been deliberate in order to suggest a sequel). Several of the action scenes that do not involve supernatural activity feel a bit forced, which can take away from an immersive film experience.

Overall, House of Salem is a well-crafted film that serves as a solid addition to the home invasion and supernatural subgenres of horror.