Christina’s House (1999) Review


Christina Tarling (Allison Lange) is a teenage girl who lives with her unstable father James (John Savage) and her younger brother Bobby (Lorne Stewart) in the family’s new home. While Christina is trying to sort out her feelings for both Eddie (Brendan Fehr), her boyfriend, and Howie (Brad Rowe), a handyman she’s become infatuated with, she soon discovers she has bigger fish to fry: there is a stranger in the house who begins leaving messages and gifts for Christina — and who isn’t averse to the idea of killing people in order to make an impression.-rottentomatoes.com

Christina’s House is a VHS I found at a second hand store for 40 cents. The back stated that its plot twists were shocking. Having been burned by Shyamalan and enraged by other shitty teen movies, I figured that this was ripe for the riffing. And ooooohhhh my it was. Christina’s House was delectably bad, with nonsensical story-telling, terrible acting, and… just plain weirdness. It’s not terrible like Dick Tracy where it enrages you because it’s terrible nature comes from how unfunny it is, but rather this film is fun for all from beginning to end because it’s bad moments hit all the right notes.

The movie centers around Christina (big shocker) who’s a whiny teenager with a dumbass younger brother, an horny asshole boyfriend, a creepy father, a ditzy best friend and a shy handyman. Weird things happen in Christina’s house, such as loud noises, random visits from her boyfriend and the inability of anybody to approach her without grabbing her from behind. The movie’s plot isn’t exactly the strongest, with those so called plot twists being just random events that Christina puzzles over while her boyfriend and dad fight over her. The appearance of a dead body means that shit gets real… sort of. The killer is revealed an hour later, but it’s really not a surprise and… well we stopped caring by that point. The movie really does just meander along, hiding so much from us that it doesn’t end up showing us anything and instead just lets us chill with the red herrings. If anything does happen, it’s because the characters acted even more stupid then they already are or the movie just said “fuck it” and screwed both continuity and logic. The killer’s reveal at the end makes no goddamn sense, with none of the kills or strangeness being explained by it.

The killer (who I won’t spoil out of courtesy) is brilliantly acted, not because it’s good, but because it’s sooooo weird. It makes no sense, but the killer’s ramblings and inconsistent behavior are a ball to watch. The rest of the acting is, of course, shit, but also shitty to a degree that made me wonder why they didn’t do another take. It makes me cringe to think those were the best. That being said, all of the performances stand out for being, again, so weird. The dad in particular is so borderline incestual, so much so that your brain is yelling “Bad Touch!!” whenever he starts to pet her. The boyfriend is a complete asshole and throughout the whole movie is fighting Christina on having sex. It makes you wonder why there a couple in the first place if they disagree on such a key issue and have nothing else in common. Sure the actors aren’t good, but the director clearly didn’t know what he was doing, as even the experienced actors can’t get their shit together.

The movie takes itself way too seriously, trying to pass little noises as huge events and characters freaking out over little things and doing random shit as if it was… well logical. To be at least partially fair to the writing, there are some points where there are clear cuts to the movie, and if those scenes had been left in, maybe some of the nonsense could have been… slightly less nonsensical. Character interactions might have been a little clearer and plot holes might have been solved. That’s not to say you won’t be able to follow along, rather it just means you’ll have a couple things to raise an eyebrow at. Christina’s House suffers from the post-Scream syndrome, where horror movies stopped being horror and became thrillers, and this is a detriment to it. If it had more gore and a better designed slasher finale, then this movie could have become a cult favorite. Instead it relies on plot twists that make no sense and a mystery it gives no clues for and doesn’t give a shit about until the finale.

Christina’s House is nowhere close to a good movie; in fact some could call it a bad one. It comes down to the clearly amateur filmmaking, as I got the same vibe from this as I did Devour. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it. If you’re tired of watching Final Destination 5 for all your horror movie giggles, then give this a viewing. It’s a film you should definitely watch with a few companions, because you will make jokes. Its just gonna happen. If you can find this movie then buy it, because it’s b-movie badness at its best.

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