Stash House (2012) review

Stash House (2012) review

Dolph Lundgren. In a house.

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A young couple move into their dream home, only to find it has a fake wall that is filled with illegal drugs. They are set upon by local neighbourhood watch guy Ray before they accidentally secure themselves inside with the house’s emergency security system – dropping metal doors and window covers down across all entry points. This has a dual purpose though – it also means the bad guys outside can’t get in. For now, at least.

Dolph Lundgren gets top billing in this direct to DVD effort as the main villain of the piece. It’s more about the couple and he’s used so there is a big name on the DVD cover to help sell the movie. You see it time and time again. Sometimes it works. Other times… not so much.

Here it’s okay because, unlike most direct to DVD tosh, he’s in the picture for most of its running time. Perhaps somebody should tell him about the deals Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme have been able to get. If they can do a day’s work and get top billing, surely the same can be said for Dolph?

Anyway, this just happens to be one of those films shot on digital and then heavily saturated with filters in post production. It results in an otherwise jarring set of images that lack the smooth movement of something shot on film, or on better cameras. More often than not, and this may be as much to do with the DVD transfer as the edit, the images feel either washed out or overly processed. It just misses out on finding the sweet spot.

But while there are issues with the picture quality, the story is alright. I know, surprising right? It’s not played out as well as it could have been, but it’s got a decent premise at its centre. There are, admittedly, huge leaps in logic to overcome, but if you can see past these for just a moment you can get something out of it.

It’s filled out with a few nice little touches. Some scenes of the outside world are shown as if from the house’s security cameras, everything bathed in a strange, ghostly white shade. Ever wanted to see a ghostly Dolph Lundgren? This is your chance. The rest of the time it’s just far too dark, both inside and outside the house. Using natural lighting is one thing, but it should complement the acting, not hide it completely.

Dolph Lundgren is a reliable presence and, much like the rest of the film’s cast and plot, plays it completely straight. The remaining cast, limited as they are in number, offer equally competent performances and prove to the strongest aspect of the whole production.

Eduardo Rodgriguez, no doubt sat majestically in the director’s chair, complete with gold sceptre and laden with diamonds, has a decent eye for nice shots but in this instance is unable to build much tension. While the situation itself would be incredibly tense, things almost peter out at the halfway point.

The only other redeeming quality is that the husband is very light on his feet and is adept at sneaking up on people. That’s a half decent skill to have if you’re into cat burgling or scaring your significant other. Or both.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Stash House (2012)
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