‘The Glass House’ is a half-empty but still fun teen thriller


It’s always fun to reunite with one of your favorite actors in a horror movie. It’s especially fun to notice an actor in an upcoming horror movie, check their IMDb, and notice a litany of other horror movies you might have forgotten they starred in. But to go look everything of said horror movie actors in sequential order? I know I know. Someone better stop me because I’m a wild person who doesn’t care about danger. Come on, let’s go crazy.

justin Long is the subject of this comprehensive exercise in honor of his not one but of them recently released horror movies: Barbaric (In theaters) and house of darkness (Currently available for rental on VOD). I’ve always considered him an underrated and charismatic actor with the ability to walk the line between “cool guy” and “total dork” because they are so often the same in real life. Or to turn it off and be a total asshole with a mind to get away with it like he’s so often asked to do in his horror roles.

Justin Long first burst onto the horror scene in his third and perhaps most popular film starring Jeepers Creepers. When it came out twenty-one years ago in 2001 (Holy Hell, I just felt my back crack and my soul die) I think every old man watching this for the first time can remember screaming at Darry’s stupid ass for going back to look inside that huge tunnel. You know, the one in which he had just seen the monstrous figure dump bloody corpses before getting back into his rusty truck with the “Hi, I’m a cannibal” license plate on it? We also remember sympathizing with what stealing Satan’s satchel must have crossed his mind when he looked up to see hundreds of gorilla bodies glued to the fucking walls. Or watch the tongue creeper the mouth of a severed head before sniffing the shit out of it. “Looks like he liked it too.” There was a lot to unpack here. If he hadn’t had his eyes gouged out like finger-fucked Reese cuts, he definitely would have needed therapy.

Point is, Long served as the perfect deer in the headlights of a completely crazy storyline and it wouldn’t be the last time. Foreshadowing! DUN DUN DUN!

‘Drag me to hell’

Fast forward to 2009 after the main comedic run of his career which included Dodgeball, Accepted, Pending and The Sasquatch Gang- justin Long would return to horror with drag me to hell. Which, coincidentally, was Sam Raimi’s first horror movie (depending on what you think of Gift) since Army of Darkness; a whopping seventeen years earlier.

In drag me to hell, Long supported an equally underrated Alison Lohman as her super understanding but also slightly dickhead boyfriend, Clay Dalton. This would mark the start of a character archetype that he would play multiple times in his horror filmography. A charismatic and malleable guy until something uncomfortable happens. Like your girlfriend being cursed by an old lady, hallucinating eyeballs inside her cake and murdering her own kitten in a demonic sacrifice.

In this particular case, although Clay sometimes seems like a jerk, he ends up making the noble choice in the end. Stay by his wife’s side and even pay for her exorcism. Which of course ended up forcing him to watch the ground split open and literally drag his girlfriend into the fiery pits of hell right in front of him. But hey, life is travel, not the destination.

Later that same year in one of fifteen feature films Long was a part in 2009, he joined Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci in the ridiculously titled Life after death (That period is sort of meant to be there). Once again, Long plays the caring but flawed boyfriend about to propose when his life becomes engulfed in horror.

In Life after death we see this character post-tragedy and grieving after his girlfriend (Ricci) is supposedly killed in a car accident. She then somehow wakes up and talks to the funeral home director (Neeson) who swears she really is dead; it’s just that he can talk to the dead. When Longcharacter finally solves the case at the end of Life after death he is then impaled to death with the guy from Taken‘s embalming trocar, making him 0–3 in the horror movie happy endings department.

Defense 2

‘Defense’

After another six-year horror hiatus, Justin Long returned to horror with Kevin Smith’s Defense. Here, Long chews up the living hell of both scenery and raw fish as an asshole podcaster who gets imprisoned and turned into a goddamn walrus. I really hope I was the person who first told you about this plot. Yes, a fucking walrus. Long is a delight to watch as an obnoxious but entertaining asshole opposite a legendary performance from the late Michael Parks as walrus maker Howard Howe.

Just like his performance in Jeepers Creepers years earlier, his over-the-top but also understandable reactions to the full bat shit storyline help make Defense work. In one of the most “fuck it, let’s go for it” performances of his career, Long is the perfect complement to a hilariously creepy, always underrated performance by Parks. All of this of course, ending with him being surgically transformed into a fucking walrus whose girlfriend is now sleeping with his best friend. Tell you what, if Sean Bean is the guy who dies early in every movie? justin Long it’s the guy who gets fucked royally at the end of them.

2016 brought one of the few boring roles in Longthe career of a psychologist in the thriller Lavender. He also has rubbed shoulders in horror in paranormal comedy Ghost Team and teamed up with Kevin Smith again for a small role in Yoga pants. In 2021, Long was directed by horror staple Greg Nicotero in a second season episode of Shudder’s horror show series. In the episode titled Live Late Show Night (spoilers ahead) LongThe character of invented a complete version of virtual reality that looked a lot like a tanning bed but had the ability to put you inside any movie on his hard drive. This led to infidelity with one of the 1972 characters Horror Express which in turn led to his wife cheating on him inside night of the living dead which, in turn, again led to a justin Long character screaming bloody murder as the credits roll.

Which brings us to the current year of our dark lord 2022 and justin Long featuring not one but two recently released horror movies; Barbaric and House of Darkness. The two I must warn you about will contain *SPOILERS*.

Long is awesome in both films; His characters once again hit all the checkpoints on the long road between “great guy” and horrible asshole of a human being.

Justin Long Horror Barbarian

‘Barbaric’

Barbaric requires a lot of justin Long and his character. As soon as the horror of the film’s opening act kicks in, BAM! we came out of the basement and up the coast with this guy (Long) singing like a douchebag in his car and having a whole other rabbit hole to go down before getting answers. The cast here could have made or broken Barbaric and thankfully we get another entertaining round of “what an over the top asshole” to play with Long.

While you’ll probably find his characters’ morals disgusting, watching him toil in this house trying to figure out what’s going on in the unholy fuck is a treat. Complete disrespect for one’s surroundings (trying to figure out a stranger’s password in one try before throwing their laptop into the wall) or complete lack of awareness (measuring the square footage of a dungeon murderer) was just the entertaining thing we needed to get us through the exposure of Barbaric without losing a bit of steam. This is probably my favorite overall performance from his horror career.

Oh and if you still consider how bad his characters get in horror movies, he was forced to drink from an inbred monster before being beaten to death in the street. In Detroit.

In house of darkness, Long and her co-star Kate Bosworth carry a dialogue-heavy horror-comedy that’s a self-proclaimed new take on Bram Stoker. He plays a guy trying to get lucky with the strange woman (Bosworth) he picked up at a bar and is spending the night playing with him in his gothic castle. The film always heads towards the same inevitable conclusion and we all know it; however, he is able to barely get the job done with a cool setting, intriguing dialogue, and two excellent leads. Long again basically plays two roles as an extremely polite gentleman with no ill will and as a guy who just says what he has to say to get into that girl’s pants. Her character gets what he probably doesn’t deserve (tough audience) when she and her sisters turn out to be vampires and rip his body limb by limb while dining on his flesh as the credits roll again… you got it guess….justin Long yelling.

In his illustrious and underrated horror career, justin Long was force-fed into an inbred, beaten to death on a Detroit street, shredded by vampires, shredded by zombies, had his eyes gouged out and God knows what else by the Creeper, has been impaled by Liam Neeson, turned into a fucking walrus, and that’s just the beginning.

My point? I think he deserved his little moment under the sun of horror.

Horror movie by Justin Long

“House of Darkness”

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