The last movie in the series and this one actually has some tie in to the original series. So even though the previous movie wasn’t really a sequel, the producers at least acknowledged it which is why they made this movie the 4th one in the series. As the last movie in the series, this is the only one that did not get a theatrical release, going direct to video instead. I wonder if they were worried that the negative reviews from the previous movie would have hurt this if it was released in theaters. Regardless, I am curious to see how good or bad this movie is. So let’s get right into today’s movie, House IV.
The plot: Roger Cobb (the father in the first movie) is at his family’s old house with his new wife, Kelly, and their daughter Laurel. Roger’s step-brother Burke has stopped by and is trying to convince Roger to sell the house, claiming he can make a lot of money on the deal, but Roger refuses to sell as he promised their father he would keep it in the family. As they are getting ready to head back home, Ezra, an old family friend, stops by the house and is warmly greeted by Roger but keeps his distance from Burke. As he is leaving, Burke tries again to convince Roger to sell but he still refuses and Burke says he is making a mistake as he leaves. Ezra says that Roger is doing the right thing in keeping the house, honoring the pact that his grandfather had made and after the Cobb’s leave, Ezra heads inside the house and down to the basement, where an ancient seal is buried, and he begins praying in front of it. As the Cobb’s are driving home, Kelly asks Roger about the blood oath and he explains that it is simply an agreement his grandfather made with Ezra’s tribe. Suddenly, one of their tires pops and the car wrecks and Kelly manages to get Laurel to safety but as she goes to help Roger, the car explodes. Roger suffers severe burns and damage over all of his body and Kelly reluctantly takes him off of life support. Some time later, Kelly and Laurel return to the family house, with Laurel now in a wheelchair after the wreck, and place the urn with Roger’s ashes on the mantle. Kelly’s father is not happy about her living in the house and begs that she move back to Dallas with him but Kelly refuses to leave. As Kelly and Laurel discuss what to do with the house, Kelly has a flashback to the accident and accidentally cuts her hand. As she tends to her wound, the doorbell rings and she finds a woman, Verna Klump, inside the house looking around. Verna explains that she is a housekeeper and was assigned to the house and Kelly thinks her father set it up. Hearing a rumblig coming from the basement, Kelly goes to check it out while Verna starts cleaning but when Kelly is gone, Verna starts looking around the drawers in the room. In the basement, Kelly drops her flashlight when she sees a rat and when she goes to retrieve it, she notices something underneath some boards but before she can get a closer look, the bulb explodes. Kelly races back upstairs and throws away the flashlight, then goes to check on Verna only to see a note saying she would be back in the morning. The next day, Kelly and Laurel, with Verna’s help, have a yard sale to clear out some of the old items in the house but Kelly has a hard time parting with some things due to her memories of Roger. Burke shows up and is upset that Kelly and Laurel are living in the house, thinking that he gained possession of it when Roger died but Kelly tells him that when Roger died, the house went to her. Burke says that he has plans for the house and tries to convince her to sell it, saying she could make Laurel’s life better with the money she gets, but Kelly refuses, which angers Burke. Kelly heads inside and sees that the urn with Roger’s ashes had fallen off the mantle but when she reaches towards the ashes, a hand reaches out from them and grabs her. Kelly screams and Verna shows up but when Kelly looks back at the floor, the urn is back on the shelf. Verna makes Kelly some tea and the two start talking but when Kelly goes to check it, she is startled by the appearance of the plumber who tells her that he checked the pipes and they are all fine. Kelly asks about the brown goo that came out of the faucet but the plumber says he didn’t see any goo, washing his hands to show her, then hands her a bill and leaves. Laurel orders a pizza for dinner and as she gets the plates, she sings the jingle the delivery man was singing and Kelly hears singing coming from the pizza. When she opens it, she sees a face in the pizza and quickly closes the box. Laurel opens the box and sees that there are anchovies on it and asks Kelly to take them off but when Kelly opens the box again, the pizza face spits at her. Kelly shoves the pizza down the disposal and turns it on but part of it grabs her and tries to drag her arm down the disposal as well so she uses her knife to short out the power and free herself. As they are eating dinner, Laurel asks if everything is ok with her mom and Kelly says she is just stressed from the move. That night, Kelly goes to take a shower and is horrified when blood comes out of the shower head and she sees a note written in the steam saying to “Get out or die” and as she wipes it away, she sees Roger’s burnt body behind her but when she turns around, everything is find. Kelly has another nightmare about Roger’s death and her pulling the plug on him. She wakes up and hears Laurel call out for her and goes to check on her but as she leaves, something grabs Laurel and pulls her into the bed. Laurel is shocked and grabs a knife that suddenly appears and starts ripping the bed to try and find Laurel but when she goes to make some more cuts to the bed, she suddenly snaps out of it and realizes she was about to stab Laurel and quickly drops the knife, which disappears. The next day, Kelly goes to see Ezra and Ezra explains that the land was sacred land that was given to Roger’s great grand-father when he married into the tribe. But when the white men started poisoning the tribe, they place a great seal on the sacred land and build the house on top of it. He then tells her that Roger’s spirit is trapped between worlds and he can’t find peace because he was killed by another person. Meanwhile, Burke and his men go to see Mr. Grossman, who was planning on using the house to hide the toxic waste from his plants and when he learns of the difficulties Burke is having in getting the house, he forces Burke to drink sludge siphoned from his own body and tells him he has just one day to get the house. Burke sends his two henchmen to the house to scare Kelly into selling it. The two men grab Laurel and try to scare her but suddenly, the dog lamp on her nightstand comes to life and chases the men away from Laurel but as they jump out the window to get away, Laurel accidentally falls down the stairs. Kelly hears the commotion and finding Kelly hurt, takes her to the hospital, where the doctor says she is fine but they keep her for observation. Kelly calls Burke and tells him she will sell him the house but as she is packing things, she manages to see an old family movie and remembers the good times she had with Roger and has a change of heart. When Burke shows up, she tells him she will sell the house only if he promises to not tear it down and she is allowed to visit it and when he refuses to do it, she says she won’t sell it. Burke gets upset and tells her to think of Laurel’s safety and Kelly asks how he knows about what happened to Laurel. Burke leaves and Kelly sees a vision of what happened the night of the accident and realizes that Burke and his men caused the wreck. Kelly goes to see Ezra and tries to figure out what to do about her knowledge, knowing the police will think her crazy. Meanwhile, Verna picks up Laurel from the hospital and takes her home but when she investigates a noise outside, she is knocked unconscious by Burke’s men. Burke’s men head into the basement and start pouring gasoline on the floor in order to burn the house down but the house causes them to see snakes on the floor, and each other as monsters, and they end up shooting each other dead. One of the bullet casings ignites the gas and the house catches fire and Burke, who is watching from outside, calls the fire department. Kelly arrives and sees Verna and checks on her, then heads inside to find Laurel but when she finds her, the door suddenly closes and a beam blocks it. Kelly is rendered unconscious and sees Roger and asks if she is dead but he tells her she isn’t and that he will always be with her. Kelly comes too and manages to get into the room with Laurel and starts helping her get away and notices that Laurel is able to use her legs. As they manage to get outside, Burke steps into Grossman’s limo and tells him that everything will be ok as nobody will want to live in the house after this. However, Roger’s spirit and the house tricked Burke as he was actually in the back of an FBI van, and Verna reveals herself to be an undercover agent and arrests him. Burke tries to leave the van and is shocked to see Roger in a police officer’s uniform closing the door on him, then Roger turns and waves to Kelly and Laurel before disappearing into the night.
This was a definite improvement over the last movie, but it had it’s faults. The acting was good, with Terri Treas (Kelly) and Scott Burkholder (Burke) both doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked that they brought back William Katt to reprise his role of Roger but I didn’t like that they killed him off at the beginning of the movie. The story was pretty good and definitely had the same feel and tone as the original 2 movies, doing a good job of mixing some comedy along with some horror into the movie. The special effects were admittedly a little weak, possibly due to the low budget, but they were able to use what they had effectively. Not a great movie but it is good for a few laughs and a jump or two.
Rating: 2 out of 5