3 years ago almost to the day of this writing I moved into my new house. We got a good deal on the property as it was a bit beaten up. Old frayed carpets, torn discoloured wallpaper, toilets that didn’t flush, no hot water or place to cook food and absolutely free from furniture. I gave myself a month to get the place sorted out and to a basic liveable standard, this meant moving in immediately with nothing but a backpack full of clothes & a sleeping bag… The first night after doing the bare basics to sort one room out I had a bag of chips several beers and crashed out. What followed was the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had. A strange, empty house with no electricity, in a new town meant that every creak and squeak in the floorboards or noise emanating from the neighbours or the outside street transformed into murderers, robbers and rapists out to get me almost every 5 minutes. So I can totally get why the new residents of Twelve Pole Manor aren’t having a good time.
To be fair we managed to get a full history of our house and would have been told if someone had carried out a murder suicide in the back garden… bit of a deal breaker. This is how we’re introduced to Twelve Pole, a delightful 3 bedroom house on a lazy back road in West Virginia. The intro gives us very little in the way of context but a nice helping of blood and suffering for what’s to come. A unnerving soundtrack serenades us next as we travel the roads and get introduced to the new owners hoping to take their first steps up the property ladder. The owners, a couple of guys looking for a bargain to do up and flip. Needless to say, as with all stories involving an old run down house it doesn’t go smoothly.
As part of the deal one of the guys agrees to stay there for a couple of nights with his unwilling girlfiend before the crew starts on the project in full, weird things start to occur, nightmares and possibly more take hold of the two before wisely his girlfriend leaves. This sends him into an unexplained rage and when his friends do arrive they’re left confused by his behaviour. As best buds do, they put it down to him being dumped and cheer him up with beer and junk food. Nothing is ever normal in a haunted house though and things go south quickly once the floorboards are being pulled up.
Twelve Pole is a micro budget horror from the mind box of writer director Sam Hodge, working with a budget of favours and a cast and crew of friends. This “old house cursed by an evil entity” story is heavily influenced by the classic 80’s horror films, so followed one of the oldest tropes in the block but, seeing as its all dudes doing up a house instead of college teenagers on a weekend away, it’s at least a different vibe.
The 80’s feel continues with blood patches and animal intestines in liberal doses, giving it that classic video nasty feel, if the film was watched on VHS the effects would have increased in their realism (the curse of high quality cameras) but top marks for keeping it practical. The acting & audio mix is raggedy in parts and the music quality differs occasionally, it is at its most effective when it’s simply a industrial drone, helping to unnerve you in scenes which are little more than people walking around the house with a torch.
The films quality can probably be summed up by saying it’s an allegory of its protagonists intentions. A couple of guys buy a house to give it a make over to sell on. They all intend to work hard, but at the same time crack open some beers and have a good time doing so. The result is a place that is maybe not always the nicest to look at but they can be proud of. Thankfully no one got their throats cut or gutted with an industrial tool during the making of the movie (that I know of) and there is a finished product to show off.
Thumbs up from me though, while the film is rough round the edges, it’s an enjoyable watch.
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