David Mun’s House of Good and Evil isn’t going to set the world on fire, redefine the horror film or change the way you think about the horror genre. I doubt that was ever in anyone’s mind when they were making the film. What it is, however, is a pretty solid attempt at a handmade psychological horror film on an obviously limited budget. It’s one of those little movies that shows just how much can be accomplished with very little. This is every inch a handsome-looking movie and a well acted one — that last is very important because there are only four main characters and their performances have to carry the story. It’s not possible to say much about the story without giving away too much. The basic premise — young couple trying to make a new start by moving to an isolated house in the country where things may not be as they seem — is hardly fresh, but what the film does with it generally works. Much of the film is grounded in the growing fear of the barely glimpsed, the unidentifiable sound, the unknown behind the door, or behind the wall. The approach is of the slow-burn variety and it mostly works. There are a few awkward moments and I’m pretty sure that losing about ten minutes would be in the picture’s favor. I should note, however, that I saw a not entirely finished version of the film with a temporary music track and a sound mix that made some of the dialogue very hard to hear. The final polish job might well remove some of my reservations.
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present House of Good and Evil Friday, May 24 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com