I was never really into Edgar Allan Poe, even before I heard "The Tell-Tale Heart" way too many times as an oral interp at high school speech meets. But when I heard Rod Serling talking about how H.P. Lovecraft had written his chilling little tale "The Haunter of the Dark)" as something of a joke, repaying Robert Bloch for killing off a Lovecraft character in "The Shambler of the Stars" by killing off a character named Robert Blake, I had to check the guy out. I was soon reading everything by Lovecraft that I could get my hands on and I still remember making the mistake of reading "At the Mountains of Madness" late one night and then having a lot of trouble getting to sleep.
So when you slap the title "H.P. Lovecraft's The Tomb" on a DVD I am going to check it out, even though as a rule the adaptations of Lovecraft's stories have been rather disappointing. But when I actually watch the movie and discover that it has nothing to do with Lovecraft's short story, does not take place in a tomb, and is really a rip-off of "Saw" that should have been entitled "Ulli Lommel's The Warehouse," I get pretty ticked off. In fact, I want to drive to Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, get my hands on their copy of the "Necronomicon" by the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, and bring down the wrath of the Old Ones down on the heads of those responsible for this abomination. I always maintained that a rating of one-star should be reserved for snuff films or movies where those responsible should be hunted down and dealt with severely. I guess I finally found a film that fits the bill.
Lovecraft's short story "The Tomb" is about Jervas Dudley, who checks out the family tomb and finds an empty coffin with his name on it. He decides it is a good idea to sleep in the coffin each night and then, as you would expect, bad things happen to him. In this direct to video 2007 offering, Tara (Victoria Ullmann) wakes up in a warehouse where she is joined by other guests courtesy of the "Puppetmaster," an unseen psychopath with a deep voice who starts tormenting them. In an effort to justify the title starts dropping names associated with Lovecraft's stories, such as Charles Dexter Ward and David Pickman. The references purport to be clued, but they end up being gratuitous. Eventually Tara learns the only rule that matters in this particular little game: the last one alive gets to leave. Now, that is certainly a premise that can work in a horror film, but did I mention that this one is set in warehouse? Because it is, and I sort of expected Tara and the others to make an effort to get the hell out of there because they start competing in earnest for the golden ticket out of that "tomb." However, that would make sense.
Consequently this movie is a lot like "Saw," only without the interesting death traps, but with your standard plot twist right out of the tradition of 1970's slasher flicks (always pay attention to back stories as if they were Holy writ in these movies). Overall this is a very boring horror film. The most interesting part was when Tara talks to the woman in the box, but that is not really a good sign because horror films are not supposed to come down to two women talking. Of course, this is a horror movie filled with bad signs, beginning with the title, which is still the biggest insult here. If this was just a bad rip-off of "Saw" that would be one thing: you expect those to be coming out of the walls after the success of that horror trilogy. But desecrating the name of H.P. Lovecraft is totally unforgivable. The only way fans of Lovecraft or horror movies are going to check out this film is by mistake.