Hell House LLC came out in 2015 and was hailed as one of the best of the found footage films. The sequel Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel followed in 2018 and it was a success even if it was considered an unworthy followup. Now we have what appears to be a conclusion to the trilogy, Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire. It’s a good thing this wraps up the hotel’s story because it’s bad enough that it would have ended the franchise anyway.
Picking up a year after the previous film, has the hotel being saved from demolition by tech millionaire Russell Wynn (Gabriel Chytry) who wants to stage his interactive play Insomnia, a retelling of Faust, in it. Vanessa Shepherd (Elizabeth Vermilyea) the new host of Morning Mysteries is invited to cover the preparations and strange things start happening. Of course, it all comes to a climax on opening night as all hell breaks loose, literally.
Writer/director Stephen Cognetti tries to bring some new angles to the franchise. Wynn has an odd history including surviving what should have been a fatal car crash. They bring in a suspicious acting priest Father Paulis (Dan Dobransky) who seems to know more than he’s telling. And there’s a reference to the town’s now abandoned fairground being haunted as well.
It feels like Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire is setting Abaddon up as another Castle Rock or Innsmouth. But none of this is really developed. The film just rehashes the same kind of found footage gotchas and interview scenes as the first two films. And it’s very old and tired by now.
The occasional use of footage from the first two films is another annoyance. All the missing footage that’s been shot in the hotel, (and was the basis of the first two films), is a plot point in Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire. And we are treated to clips of it randomly inserted in among the film’s events. It’s meant to convey a link between the activities past and present but it just reminded me how recycled the current film’s events are.
Hopefully, Shudder, Terror Films, and Stephen Cognetti let the franchise end here. There’s nowhere to go with it really. Unless they decide to pick up the idea that the hotel isn’t the only part with issues, and that seems like a desperation move. As one of the characters says in the post end titles scene, “It’s time to move on.”
Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire is airing exclusively on Shudder. You can get updates on the film’s Facebook page.