Shudder invites us to dip a toe in Lake of Fire with Hell House LLC III

Shudder - Hell House III: Lake of Fire - Courtesy Shudder
Shudder - Hell House III: Lake of Fire - Courtesy Shudder /

Terror Films and Shudder are bringing us the third installment in their popular Hell House LLC series of films, and it looks to be the closing chapter. Does Lake of Fire live up to the first two films?

As anyone who has ever read my Shudder recommendations knows, I am a huge fan of the original Hell House LLC; in fact, it is one of my favorite independent horror films. While the sequel, Hell House LLC II: The Abbadon Hotel had a good story, I was disappointed in the quality of the acting, especially considering the unknown actors in the first film were so good.

With a found-footage movie, good, natural acting is important, because it’s the best way to sell your story as “real.” Sadly, most of the performances in HH II were lacking (with the notable exception of Jillian Geurts, who played Jessica Fox), so I could never recommend it as highly as I did the original installment.

Thankfully, Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire is well-cast and usually feels as if it is taking place in the “real” world. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and plan to re-watch all three films in order between now and Halloween. I’m calling it a “Scare-a-thon” because these three movies are truly frightening.

In the first film, a group of friends operates a haunted attraction called Hell House every year during the Halloween season. In 2009, they ventured outside of NYC for the first time and set up Hell House at an abandoned hotel called the Abaddon. After what is later described as an “unexplained malfunction”, several tour-goers and cast members are killed.

Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire - Courtesy Terror Films and Shudder
Hell House LLC – Courtesy Terror Films and Shudder /

In Abaddon Hotel, several people have vanished after going into the hotel, and a journalist takes a “psychic” and camera crew into the hotel. Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t go well.

In Lake of Fire, billionaire Russell Wynn buys the Abaddon shortly before it is scheduled for demolition. He is setting his popular interactive show Insomnia there, right before Halloween (of course), and he invites the new Morning Mysteries host Vanessa Shepherd and her cameraman Lewis along to document the entire process. The prior host disappeared when she and her cameraman went into the Abaddon, so of course, Vanessa is a little nervous.

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A few of the Insomnia cast and crew members are given their own cameras and instructed to film as much as they would like. Of course, some silliness comes of this, but things get more serious as several of our new friends start to experience some frightening stuff in the Abaddon.

Writer and director Stephen Cognetti managed to continuously throw the scary stuff our way, and it’s just as effective on this third outing as it was on the first. There is a particularly creepy hallway draped all in white, staffed with white-painted mannequins dressed in all white, and while that may sound simple…trust me, it’s unsettling as hell, particularly when characters are walking through it armed only with cameras.

Of course, our terrifying clown buddies are back as well, and they are just as scary as ever. There is a hair-raising scene where Jane, an actress in the show, is dared to go down in the basement alone and film herself touching one of the clowns on the nose; you may have seen part of that sequence in the first teaser trailer that was released. It’s a great teaser (props to Bridgid Adams, who plays Jane), and if you haven’t already seen it, you can watch it at the end of this story.

I really can’t overstate the high creepiness factor of this film, I literally got goosebumps a few times. Anyone who loved the original Hell House LLC is sure to love this one as well. By all means, watch it with the lights out, but I would recommend not watching it alone!

Next. Five found footage films to love. dark

Are you a fan of the Hell House LLC movies? Will you be watching Lake of Fire? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire begins streaming September 19 on Shudder.