Cubbyhouse

This item about a haunted cubbyhouse in the 'burbs makes the most of what looks like a pretty low budget, but fails to come up with anything very original or genuinely exciting in the highly competitive horror stakes.

With:
With: Joshua Leonard, Belinda McClory, Jerome Ehlers, Lauren Hewett, Joshua Tainish-Biagi, Amy Reti, Craig McLachlan.

This item about a haunted cubbyhouse in the ‘burbs makes the most of what looks like a pretty low budget, but fails to come up with anything very original or genuinely exciting in the highly competitive horror stakes. Pic makes a change of pace for director Murray Fahey, previously known for his more personal, small-scale comedies and dramas, but the actor turned director (who makes a guest appearance as a short-lived pest exterminator) seems constrained by the commercial demands to provide another thrill every few minutes. Pic has sold to many territories, where ancillary should provide some modest coin.

Set in an Australian suburb, where a supposedly haunted house has been derelict for 30 years since two children died there, the film starts with the arrival of American Lynn Graham (convincingly played by Belinda McClory) and her three kids, including teen Danny (Joshua Leonard). Family is soon beset by murderous undergrowth which sucks its victims away to a sticky fate, while the younger kids become possessed when they spend too much time in the demonic cubbyhouse. Even sweet next-door neighbor Bronwyn (Lauren Hewett) turns on Danny — quite unlike her usual behavior — when they hang out in the haunted hut. But the thrills and spills are underwhelming and only the most tolerant fans of the genre will go for this minor-league shocker.

Cubbyhouse

Australia

Production: An Australian Film Finance Corp. presentation, in association with the Pacific Film & TV Office and Showtime Australia of a Cubbyhouse Production, in association with David Hannay Prods., Pictures In Paradise. (International sales: Beyond Films, Sydney.) Produced by Chris Brown, David Hannay. Co-producer, Murray Fahey. Executive producers, Gary Hamilton, Mikael Borglund. Directed by Murray Fahey. Screenplay, Ian Coughlan, Murray Fahey.

Crew: Camera (Atlab color), Philip M. Cross; editors, Marcus D'Arcy, Tony Mestres; music, Peter Dasent; production designer, Sean Callinan; special effects, Kevin Chisnall. Reviewed at Cannes film fest (Market), May 16, 2001. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Joshua Leonard, Belinda McClory, Jerome Ehlers, Lauren Hewett, Joshua Tainish-Biagi, Amy Reti, Craig McLachlan.

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