A paranormal investigation at the site of John Wayne Gacy's house of death? Sign me up for that. I don't care how cheap and problematic the story is - I'm a total sucker for films like this. And with The Asylum hosting this shindig, I couldn't wait to fire this DVD up, sit back, and just enjoy myself. There really is no mystery to 8213: Gacy House, though, as this is just another film constructed on the Paranormal Activity model (which The Asylum exploited to great effect, in my opinion, with Paranormal Entity). We're told right off the bat that all of the paranormal investigators died during the night of their big investigation and that this film is made up of the footage they took during that fateful night (although the film and the box cover can't agree on whether it happened in 2004 or 2006). The suspense comes in learning when and how each one died - that's the idea, anyway. It's a great - albeit less than original - premise, but the film itself turns out to be fraught with problems.
The house itself is a big issue. For starters, it's not the John Wayne Gacy house because his house was destroyed following Gacy's arrest and conviction. The introduction of this movie acknowledges this fact and tells us that another house was built on that lot - a house that has now been abandoned. Unfortunately, none of the actors or script writers in the film seemed to get that memo, as they - on more than one occasion - talk about how fuses blow or weird sounds are heard in "an old house" like the one they are investigating. And get this - this new house just so happens to have a sizable crawlspace underneath it, and that area is a prime focus of the paranormal investigation. My theory is that the filmmakers completed filming and then - at the last minute - discovered that the original John Wayne Gacy house no longer exists; in order to cover up for this huge blunder, they threw that bit about a newly constructed house into the introduction (in reality, no house has ever been built on the lot where Gacy's house stood).
Another big problem with this film is the acting. It's not very good. It is, however, increasingly annoying. Once weird things really begin happening, we're forced to endure one group shouting match after another between those who want to get the hell out of there and the manic director who insists on staying, sure that he'll get the proof that will catapult him into fame among paranormal circles. The young male camera tech is the worst of the lot, constantly launching into obscene tirades over the merest hint of actual paranormal activity. To make matters worse, all of the characters somehow make the time in the middle of all their hectic scurrying to and fro, to visit a little testimonial room and talk about their feelings.
The biggest problem with this movie is the fact that it just isn't scary or suspenseful. A lot of the special effects are hackneyed at best - a door swinging closed, lights going out, etc. There are a few good moments - such as one investigator suddenly being slammed against a door - but these are too few and far between. As for the ultimate payoff, prepare to be disappointed - honestly, it plays better in the trailer than it does in the full movie. I hate to say that John Wayne Gacy deserved better, seeing as he was a sick and perverted monster, but this film really doesn't do justice to his dark legacy of evil.