House of Labrys (2016) – Movie Review

House of Labrys

Well, I’ve been waiting to do this review for quite some time now as I feel as though I’ve been immersed in every step of the project’s evolution – which has been great fun for me!

About a year ago now, well I say a year, I can’t really remember when exactly, I was contacted by yet another independent filmmaker. But this guy was different.

His name was Brandon Arnett and he had been a fan of this site for quite some time…and he was in the extreme early stages of filming his very own Found Footage effort.

I could tell straight away that this wasn’t going to be another iPhone monstrosity from YouTube, everything seemed to have a direction and his enthusiasm carried me along.

So this review is going to be COMPLETELY different to all the other reviews on this site up until this point.

I’ve been in constant contact with Brandon all the way through the evolution of this movie/series and it made perfect sense to let his own words paint a picture of the film for you.

So I decided to throw a few questions at him aimed at giving you some idea of what to expect from this Found Footage offering.

And the coolest thing about all this?

He’s decided to release it to the world FREE of charge….

(P.S. I will be including it in the main tab of the Free Found Footage Cinema section of this site!)

The Interview…

Question #1 – Why Found Footage?

I walked into a theater room at cousin’s house and all the parents were watching The Blair Witch Project when it first came out. I was like 10 and at first didn’t know what I was looking at.

Sat down with everyone and couldn’t look away. Scared the shit out of me.

Kind of forgot about how much I got into it until I went and saw Cloverfield. I fell in love with how it’s made to seem like real events. Like I was watching something personal and intense.

From then on any found footage movie I could find I would watch. When I plugged in Rec and pressed play with the lights out…it was the first time I got such a ‘scared rush’ from a movie.

And Rec 2…like The Exorcist on crack. It’s definitely my favorite genre. Got a digital collection now of over 164 found footage movies and hard copy about 22.

And it’s more flexible of a genre than people think and I love that. Everyone I know has only seen those two mentioned above, so it also feels like a secret I have that they don’t. How good it can be.

House of Labrys Forest Shot

I like how it still feels close to the birth of the genre. Can always weed out those who don’t understand with their stupid complaints on shaky cameras…I love that and when the footage glitches or skips, so wrote a reason to have a bunch of them in mine (glitches).

I basically picked all the things I liked about Found Footage that I could afford to do and wrote it in without over doing it.

Always wanted it to keep moving forward even when you don’t know exactly what the motivations are.

JJ Abrams is my favorite when it comes to unexplained (at first) events and actions taken, and I tried to learn from that. He always starts on the edges of the story and slowly moves to the center with hints poured in along the way that start to become less and less confusing.

In short, the genre, since it’s not very mainstream, can get away with so many types of stories and different ways to tell itself.

Image 4

Don’t know if ‘Found Footage’ is as accurate a term these days since (it) makes it seem like everyone’s going to die and footage is found. It’s not that constrained at all these days and that’s exciting. Makes watching movies seem new and fun again.

I wanted to make it diverse when it came to the sets too. Unless you have special effects or really good top notch performances, having a FF movie stay still is annoying to me.

I call this ‘stationary vs mobile found footage’. Stationary being mainly from tripods and wall mounts or camera not being held basically, and mobile being handheld and frame always moving.

I prefer the mobile side so you’re always looking at something new in frame as scenes progress. Like the viewer is going along with the journey, and multiple cameras are always fun as you get to switch perspectives inside the events.

Question #2 – Could You Give us Your Version of The Plot?

I don’t know how to tell people without spoilers so I’ll just keep it simple. It’s got cults, creepy houses, scary forest scenes, and a conspiracy that becomes more and more personal as the main character moves forward.

That’s really the point, that the viewer has to piece the puzzle together themselves and do some research in order to figure things out.

Make them feel more a part of the story themselves. I always liked when you have to press pause or go frame by frame to catch something almost hidden among the chaos.

I made the journal so in depth so that you would feel a sense of accomplishment after reading through it’s pages and learning some background on what’s happening.

Question #3 – This is Your First Time Directing – How Did You Find The Filmmaking Process?

Took 6 months to write and 14 months more once filming began. Unless you have a lot of resources available (which I did not), you have to do every aspect of it yourself and it will take longer to make it professional quality.

I also wrote each segment in a way where I knew what exactly would happen, but how it would happen and the dialogue was all written and decided upon on the day of filming or even in the moment we started to record.

Once all the pieces are in place then it’s easier to do things on the spot that would fit into the established framework. Gives it a sense of reality and ‘in the moment’ feeling.

I knew basically what I wanted to say but didn’t memorize any lines, just kept it close to what was in my head and go from there once I pressed record.

House of Labrys Image 3

In (segment) 1.5 I just told Parker what kind of motivation his character has and what he’s trying to accomplish. Told him to be dodgy when it came to answering questions and gave him some science theories on time manipulation to research.

He then made the character himself and all the dialogue in 1.5 was us improvising off each other. We never knew what each other would say so we would just react from it and respond. Was a lot of fun.

He started to be kind of a smart ass and rude while filming and I was like, why is Parker talking to me like this? Then I was like okay, he’s still in character and just went with it.

He actually discovered the Uriah Moreland story himself while researching his character and Percy Priest Lake while it was still Old Jefferson.

It was so perfect that I added him into the plot as the founder of the hidden cult and wrote that story time scene on the island in.

Question #4 – What do You Hope Found Footage Fans Will Take Away From This Movie?

I liked connecting it with the real world so that I (and the viewer) can feel closer to what’s happening, feel like you’re a part of it just by watching and figuring things out.

A lot of the project, especially with the journal, is supposed to feel like you’re reading/watching something genuine and intense.

I wanted to put real things in with whatever I wrote in the journal/script so that if people Googled any of it then it would be right there, more tangible.

Like Uriah Moreland. Every bit of his story is true except for him creating this cult after he disappeared.

There’s more truth in House of Labrys than fiction to a degree, whether it be hard facts or statements of what real people actually believe.


So there you have it! I think it’s glaringly obvious to you by now that I liked this offering, from start to finish really.

Keep in mind that this is not a haunted asylum or possessed Ouija-type ripoff – you are going to have to keep your mind’s gate wide open and concentrate through each segment of this film.

As I mentioned above, I will be including it in the Free Found Footage Cinema section of this site but here’s a direct link to the channel that holds every segment:

Click Here For Direct Access to House of Labrys

Don’t forget to show your support after watching the movie – YouTube videos are ranked based on engagement mostly, so a simple ‘Like’ (that’s ‘thumbs up’ to you and me!) or a comment can help rocket the film in front of millions of fans/viewers.

Don’t miss this one – well worth watching!



  1. Okay, I watched the whole thing. Confusing like hell but interesting nonetheless. But rarely I’m satisfied with puzzle-like-movies. But I appreciated the director made available to fans for free on YT and you can watch it in order (I highly recommend it because there’re some 2 and 2.5 parts, so I skipped one without knowing, then I decided to watch it on its channel in the proper order. The creepiest part is when he goes into the house and find the lights on but the rest was not really scary just very puzzling. I also did not buy the fact the guy was hired to do a semi-professional job some time recently, since we see the date 2016 at the end and still chooses to use an older tape to tape it over (well, that’s the impression I got, but it surely reminded me of the inclusions of old footage in Cloverfield which clarifies when they were living under “normal” circumstances. A for effort but the plot need a bit more information to really get you into it. I was under the impression it had to do with time portal at first, but it took a totally different twist. It’s promising to see that are still directors who still believe in the genre to continue. I love this genre and never get tired of them (besides the number of bountiful crap that’s come out since 1999!) My favorites are still the original Blair Witch and Grave Encounters.

    • Hi Keith!

      I found many segments of the film relied on symbolism (I think that’s the right word) that was important to the plot. I had to watch each part a couple of times before I was comfortable with what direction I was going in.

      The segment which involves the journal is VERY important so I will advise all watchers to take their time with that part.

      Anyway, thanks for chiming in with your opinion – I know Brandon will appreciate it and may even respond on here to you personally! 🙂

    • Hello Kieth, that house scene was actually the first thing I filmed for the project, glad you enjoyed it :). I definatley tried to turn the creep factor up on that one. The reason for the flashback footage mixed in is because almost all the footage is stored on the same hard drive, old stuff to whatever finishes filming now and uploads (except for 0.75 which is hacked footage). And the journal is very important. Meant to press pause on every page and read it all, like you are researching to find the meaning behind all these actions. Would also suggest looking up the Ship of Theseus and Labrynth Mythos. A lot of the film parallels that story.

      • Thank you both for acknowledging my comments. Brandon, I was really thinking about that part (the journal), damn it, it goes by so fast we don’t get to see it much but I was pretty curious. I love the suggestion to stop and try to read it because I had a feeling, it revealed more than I could comprehend. Thank you both! Brandon, keep making movies please, you’re talented! And, Chris, thanking for supporting the genre with this great and helpful site.

        • No problem mate – I try and respond to every comment I get on here (except for the ones that insult me etc LOL). Thanks for supporting the site! 🙂

  2. This was a strange cookie, but I liked it :). There were a lot of small things all over that became more relevant after pausing on the journal pages and that was fun. Re watching it, I noticed so much more now that kinda understand what the hell is going on. And looked up the Theseus myth on Wikipedia, is pretty cool connections going on their:). I hope you decide to stick with the genre (and a second series???)

    • I might even learn the proper use of the words their and there by then too:)

      • Haha I did notice but I didn’t want to be a member of the ‘grammar police trolls’ and point it out! Besides everybody reads my writing on here so they know I’m no Shakespeare myself! 🙂

    • Hey Shelly!!!

      Great to hear that you liked the movie – I know Brandon will be stoked to hear your positive feedback as well! Don’t forget to hit the ‘thumbs up’ buttons below the video(s) on YouTube (shameless plug Chris, shameless…) 🙂

  3. Absolutely fantastic! Loved it from start to finish. The journal was an excellent touch and really helped to shed light on everything that was going on. I am a huge fan now and am excited to see what Brandon comes up with next!

    • Great to hear Mitch – I know Brandon pops back here to check out the feedback and uses the site constantly. He’ll be chuffed to see this sort of positive feedback. Don’t forget to Like and share the film EVERYWHERE 🙂

  4. Well thanks Mitch and Shelley!!! I used to be on the other side of this conversation so it’s weird/fun to hear feedback like this :). I am In the LAST year of Surgical Tech. Classes, so as soon as finish that I am ready to hop back into the Director’s chair (I never had one, but the expression still fits and u know what I mean:). I have already written the sequel as well as a Found Footage story set in Chicago about a serial killer called “The Painter”..(a lot more too it than that but no spoilers here). It’s all exciting stuff and can’t wait to make it real/get it out of my head like I did with HOL.

    • Glad to hear it! I will be looking forward to announcements about it here on Chris’s site! Thanks for the reply!

  5. Well done, Brandon! Very creepy and atmospheric throughout, which is one of the main things I look for in any horror, FF or otherwise. I liked that it was in segments, so viewers can watch like a web series or all at one go.

    The story was kind of hard to follow, especially since youtube – or at least the version on my TV – puts thick black bars with (unwanted) information at the top and bottom of the screen when in pause mode. It is literally impossible to read entire journal pages or see every detail in a scene as a result. Annoying!

    Anyway, one thing I didn’t quite get was the link between Segment 2.5 and Segment 3; clearly Movie Brandon has learned a lot between the two – this is before he found the journal – but I’m not sure how/when …? I actually looked to see if there was a Segment 2.75 that I missed, but no joy. I know about Theseus’ paradox, so I could speculate about what happened before he woke up in the hole, but I didn’t see evidence for it. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, of course.

    Also, I tried to pause on every scene where the older videos break through, but – keeping in mind the above limitation with YT – I couldn’t find any clues, even in the one at the wedding where you pause the image with seemingly great significance. Am I missing something (very possible, due to YT and also my own highly flawed powers of observation)?

    Anyway, so sorry for this ridiculously long reply. I’m looking forward to Season 2, or your next venture whichever comes first.

    P.S. Thanks to Chris for bringing House of Labrys to our attention.

  6. Steve Wood. It’s hard to go into much detail without giving away spoilers so will try best I can.
    I would try watching the journal scene on a screen where can read it all. It answers most any question. The note that character has at beginning of 3 is a torn page from the journal sent to my character—(there are leaps in the story because of the outside influence and direction of the writer of the journal), and wanted there to be gaps in segments/character filming-so have to piece the story arch together (fill in what happens off camera and in between segments). As for the flashback footage, there are no hidden messages in those, just real clips of past personal events that were stored in the same hard drive as footage filmed from my character. The hidden stuff is really in the journal mainly…where all the secrets are buried as it were (and in the Fox’s Manifesto). If wondering about events before the hole (the cylinder) then look in journal wherever it mentions the first anchor ritual. There are also some things in the journal that would be good to Google and find out more. It’s great you enjoyed it, I certainly did while making it. Thank you for the compliments man, it’s cool to hear from the viewers like this . I will try to answer any question (or at least point u in the right direction), so feel free to keep em coming 🙂

    • And as for an update on season 2-will be in just 3 segments but 30-60 minutes a piece (each one kind of it’s own story until 3rd one when all of them come together). There is a lot more action and way more actors (3rd one will have over 20). Each segment will have names instead of numbers. The first one is House of Labrys: The Feral Child (this one is like an R rated “Home Alone”-very brutal/intense/wtf/ohh it makes sense when she opens the door at the end and u see what she’s holding). Second segment involves 2 hunters and is called House of Labrys: Recruitment. The finale segment HOL: Infiltration (all out ff chaos in this one with like 20 actors, 4 mobile cameras and 6 stationary ones…and tons of blood:)

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