Stay Out of the Attic isn’t just a horror film that’s actively bad, but one that goes out of its way to offend and desensitize the viewer to the point of no return. The creative team seems to think throwing a Spanish dad, a black female ex-con, and a skinhead into a house with Nazi experimentation is an acceptable pitch. A girl named Anne in the attic, references to Joseph Mengele, and even a gas chamber for “failed experiments”—these are all actual elements to this narrative.
Three ex-cons (Bryce Fernelius, Morgan Alexandria, Ryan Francis) who have started a moving company are tasked with a gig at a crusty old mansion that looks like a dollar-store American Horror Story: Murder House knock-off. The creepy old owner, Vern (Michael Flynn), offers them a major pay increase if they stay the night. Insert typical haunted house tropes here. As Nazi symbols and memorabilia start to send off red flags, the trio has to figure out a way to survive the night.
There’s zero sense of subtlety to any of this. We do at least get quite a good amount of gore, so if that’s your cup of tea, Stay Out of the Attic could serve as passing entertainment. Attention to detail is even lacking in this field: a scene exists where someone is stabbed directly in the eye, then later on, the same eye is dropped onto the ground completely free of markings as if plucked straight out. The gore still doesn’t save the film from feeling lazy and ridiculous.
The experiments and exploitative visuals will definitely piss off a lot of people. Racial politics and a half-baked commentary on prison reform are thrown in at the last minute, too, in case you weren’t already rolling your eyes. Despite being relatively short at under an hour and 20 minutes, this feels long, and drags in many spots. Horror can shock and offend plenty, but Stay Out of the Attic crosses the line into unquestionably offensive territory. That said, I’m sure that was the filmmaker’s intent anyway. So, job well done, Jerren Lauder. Stay Out of the Attic comes to Shudder on March 11th.