When I first saw 2015’s Frances Stein, I knew right away that Big Biting Pig Productions, the people behind the film, were on to something. The way they took something as iconic as the classic Frankenstein story and not only modernized it but gave it one hell of a twist completely blew my mind. The film even made my top indie movie list of 2015. So when I saw that Big Biting Pig Productions had a new film out for 2016 called It Lives in the Attic, I just had to check it out. Could this one possibly be as good as Frances Stein?
The two people behind Big Biting Pig Productions – Steve Hudgins and PJ Woodside – have made it their goal to create original takes on classic horror tropes for as little money as possible. Let me be the first to say that Big Money does not always equal Great Horror Film. As a matter of fact, the more money that’s involved in making a film, the more opinions have to be taken into consideration, and sometimes the initial film concept is lost in everyone else’s ideas of what makes a good movie.
So the fact that PJ and Steve make their films with as little backing as possible means that they can retain complete control over their ideas and see them through to fruition to guarantee that their audience sees what they want them to see. The fact that these two are huge genre fans also helps. One of the two always act in their films – which they take turns directing – as well as produce, write and edit their own projects. They use their own purchased equipment and rely on friends and volunteers for their entire movie making process. They are the epitome of indie film making.
The official synopsis:
The lives of several people take a terrifying turn after discovering the attic in an old house with a mysterious past.
When I first started It Lives in the Attic, I wondered if there had been some mistake in either the description or the link I had clicked on. By the movie’s description, I thought I would be walking into a haunted house film, something that would take place all in one ramshackle building. Instead, the opening scene had a seemingly pleasant young man named Andy (Michael Coon: The Caretakers 2014) hiking through the woods and coming upon a woman screaming for help and a big, burly guy with a chainsaw. Pretty standard slasher fair, right? Nope. Suddenly, a new story suddenly started with the milquetoast Barney (Hudgins) trying to get home to his catatonic wife, Ellie (Jessica Leonard: Frances Stein 2015).
So this is a new story in an anthology, right? Nope again. These characters are actually all connected, and the non-linear storytelling of It Lives in the Attic has you assembling bits of info like The Collector gathers people. Much like Frances Stein, the plot of It Lives in the Attic comes at you piecemeal, but then once everything is laid out on the table, the entire storyline becomes clear.
Anyone who’s ever seen Steve Hudgins in any of the other nine Big Biting Pig Productions will be shocked as shit when they realize he’s playing Barney in It Lives in the Attic. This is not the Steve Hudgins I’ve come to know and love! It just shows what an acting range this guy has. He’s a chameleon like Gary Oldman or Daniel Day-Lewis. What a fantastic actor! Like I mentioned above, the intricate, time-shifting plotline is glorious and is fast becoming one of my favorite things about Big Biting Pig Productions. I also caught Andy reading PJ’s book Cajun PI. That book has made the rounds! Ms. Woodside herself has a bit part in the film, as well as Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories‘ Cindy Maples.
What doesn’t work
The editing in It Lives in the Attic could have been tighter. Some scenes were a bit too loose and free flowing. Also, as funny as the sex club was, it seemed a bit out of place in the overall theme of the movie. While I understand that Ellie was supposed to be coming into her own as a sex addict, her prolonged adventure in this club seemed a bit tacked on, extraneous and a bit too surreal to go with the rest of the film.
I absolutely loved It Lives in the Attic. The hypnotic plot is manipulative yet captivating. The characters are relatable, believable and full of faults. The storyline is unique – a truly original haunted house story. If you’re looking for a movie that’s not just a rehashing of old ghost story stereotypes, then head on over to Amazon Prime and give It Lives in the Attic a watch. You won’t be disappointed.