The House of Usher 

I popped this horror title into the DVD player, blissfully unaware of what was to come. I thought I vaguely recognized one of the actor's names, but otherwise it was a completely random choice. A quick check on IMdB.com revealed star Izabella Miko is best-known for her role as Cammie in Coyote Ugly, and that Beth Grant (Donnie Darko, Little Miss Sunshine), who frequently plays an unflinching old witch, costars as a creepy housemaid.

Sadly, though the script is based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, you'd never know it by the way the story unfolds. At a funeral for her former best friend, Maddy, Jill Michaelson (Miko) reconnects with Maddy's brother Roderick Usher (Austin Nichols), a former flame. He claims he's afflicted with the same mysterious disease that has offed everyone in the Usher family, including his sister. Unable to resist Roderick's allure, Jill nearly gives in to his request to become part of the family—until she discovers the terrible Usher secret.

The camera work and sound effects are rather shoddy and certainly aren't aided by poor acting from Miko and Nichols or the revealing outfits that Miko dons in nearly every scene. Plus, there are really no scares, making it a rather wasted attempt at horror or suspense. Perhaps a better use of your time would be picking up the 1960 version starring the legendary Vincent Price. Outdated though it is, it couldn't be much worse than this rehash.

These videos courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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