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Low-budget chills rule this 'Roost'

''The Roost" is a homespun Halloween attraction loaded into an abandoned barn. It's not about slick production values. It's more about remembering just how little it took to unnerve you as a child.

So keep your big-budget horror movie expectations locked away in a separate crawl space, because this grainy feature debut from writer-director Ti West demands that you buy into the silliness, and the cheese.

The filmmaker even acknowledges/excuses his preference for B-movie style by inserting ''The Roost" within a ''Frightmare Theatre" TV show, complete with a Crypt Keeper-esque host played by horror veteran Tom Noonan.

The unsurprising victims of this impending tragedy are a carload of friends who get stuck in a ditch and are forced to seek help at a nearby farmhouse, where the evening doesn't get any more relaxing.

The house has a barn that is apparently the size of Nebraska, because people wander around in search of one another as though it's some endless maze where even their shouts are trapped.

And who are these innocent prey? There's cynical Brian (Sean Reid), self-involved Trevor (Karl Jacob), and the wholesome brother-sister combo of Elliot (Wil Horneff) and Allison (Vanessa Horneff, his real-life sibling).

West gets an enthusiastic round of applause for trusting his eye for stripped-down horror. Now he needs to complete the picture with writing that shows the same conviction.

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