A House on the Bayou hit many of the right notes for me. It’s a psychological thriller focusing on family conflict, and the southern gothic atmosphere darkens the mood.
The film starts off right in the midst of drama as Jessica (Angela Sarafyan) confronts her husband John (Paul Schneider) in regards to his infidelity. Unexpectedly, Jessica demands that they take a family vacation to repair the relationship.
Joined by their daughter Anna (Lia McHugh), the couple travels from their Houston abode to a spacious, elegant home in the middle of the Louisiana bayou. From the get-go, the dwelling is a bit mysterious. There’s a locked room not shown in the plans, and John’s visit to a local store results in an ominous warning written on his receipt: “You are being watched by the Devil.”
When the family is joined by local teen Isaac (Jacob Lofland) and his “grandpappy”, things take a more uncomfortable turn. Soon, all sins come to light as they encounter sinister forces both human and supernatural.
One of the aspects of the film I really enjoyed was the score. It fits the film well and amplifies the intensity of the film. I also appreciate that this flick has a unique premise and didn’t repeat everything that has previously worked in other family conflict-based horror films. The tension is there from the beginning, as viewers are dropped into an uncomfortable situation, which never really lightens until the end.
While I love a supernatural twist, it muddled things a bit in this instance. There are a few small twists that add to the story and bring the tension up a notch, but this element seemed a bit out of place.
I think the story would’ve been more effective had it solely focused on human horrors. However, this was a fun watch that left me with questions regarding morality and trust. And I appreciate a film that makes me think.
A House on the Bayou is haunting, atmospheric, and it’s one of those films that could benefit from a second viewing. Jacob Lofland and Angela Sarafyan were the standouts with regard to the acting, and I’d like to see them both in more horror films in the future. If you’re a fan of family conflict in film, along with slow-burn, atmospheric thrillers, give this one a try.
A House on the Bayou is available on Epix and VOD as of November 19.
WICKED RATING: 7 out of 10