With horror movies, the same formulas and tropes are used over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with this, as these formulas tend to do good among audiences. Sometimes these movies can take a unique turn and subvert expectations, while other times, the overused formula can get stale.
Alex McAulay’s A House On The Bayou is the first of eight films that is a collaboration between Blumhouse Television and EPIX. The film has a similar “isolation” trope used numerous times before but has a few unique twists and turns that make it differ from others. At the same time, it feels eerily similar to films such as Funny Games (1997) or The Strangers (2008), but this doesn’t make the movie any less entertaining.
A House On The Bayou is about an estranged family consisting of parents John (Paul Schneider), Jessica (Angela Sarafyan), and their preteen daughter Anna (Lia McHugh of Eternals). To try to rekindle as a family, they go on an intimate vacation to a remote house in the Louisiana Bay. When unexpected and overly friendly neighbors arrive, the dark secrets of their family begin to unravel.
The film begins with a close-up of Jessica, wearing a bright blue blouse juxtaposed to her dark, depressed eyes. She is filled with anxiety but also appears calm, patiently waiting for her cheating husband to come home, in which she will finally confront him. When John arrives, Jessica calmly tells him she knows of his affair with his student Vivienne (Lauren Richards), which he repeatedly denies until Jessica shows him full-blown proof. Instead of wanting a divorce, she wants to salvage their marriage and family, and this is when she suggests a getaway.