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Peter Facinelli stars in a scary haunted house horror movie called 'The Damned'

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'The Damned'

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Examiner Dorri Olds landed an exclusive with Peter Facinelli. The two sat down yesterday, August 8, to talk about his starring role in the new horror movie, “The Damned.”

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Facinelli fans are everywhere. Gobs of them loved him as vampire patriarch Dr. Carlisle Cullen from the “Twilight” movies and many adore him as Coop on “Nurse Jackie.” He’s been a regular on plenty more TV series including “Glee,” "Damages" and “Six Feet Under,” and next you’ll see him in “Odyssey.”

Native New Yorker Facinelli — actor, writer, director and producer — comes across as a perfect gentleman. With a great sense of humor, and smarts, he also shows gratitude for his good fortune and seems happy to talk about the gazillions of projects he’s working on.

“Horror movies scare me so I’d never really watched them much,” Facinelli said. “This was the first horror movie I’ve acted in. I’d done a lot of genres including comedy, drama, science fiction, and fantasy, but not horror.”

Facinelli said he decided to do the film because he likes trying new things. “The Damned” (formerly titled “Gallows Hill”) tells the story of David Reynolds (Facinelli), an American who was widowed from his Colombia-born wife. David flies to Bogota with his new fiancée Lauren (Sophia Myles) to collect his rebellious teenage daughter Jill (Nathalia Ramos) so she can attend their wedding. Also along for the ride are two stunning actors, Jill’s aunt (Carolina Guerra) and her friend (Sebastián Martínez).

“A lot of horror movies can be silly,” said Facinelli, “or not as dramatic as I’d like, but the truth is, doing this movie was emotionally exhausting.”

Despite fatigue, Facinelli does a fine job, as he does in all of his roles. “In horror your life is at stake and your family’s life is at stake and this goes on for most of the movie. As the tension rises for my character I found that ninety percent of the time I would go to work and just be emotionally drained. For me, as an actor, it was a lot work.” He quickly adds, “But a lot of fun too.”

Directed by Víctor García, we see the typical horror setup (like Snoopy always typed on top of his doghouse, “It was a dark and stormy night.”). A policeman flags down their car and warns them the sloshy, twisty roads aren’t safe. Do they listen? No, of course not. And, as in every horror movie, you’ll be silently shouting, “No! Turn back! Don’t go!”

As expected they push on and get caught in a raucous storm. It’s slippery and muddy and David loses control of the car. Crash, bang, down a ravine. But they all survive. It isn’t time to kill anybody off yet. After helping each other up, off they go to stagger in search of refuge.

The soaked group comes across a rickety house on a hill that might as well have a sign on it, “Haunted.” It’s fun though, comforting because it’s familiar. Technically the house is an inn but nobody sane would pay good money to stay in that creepy place.

After a few pounding knocks on the door, a very cranky and sinister-looking old innkeeper (Gustavo Angarita) answers. After the group's pleading to the innkeeper is met with cold resistance, they beg some more. Finally the old man allows them to enter, but, with the caveat that they stay put in the front room. Do they listen? You get one guess.

When Mr. Crankypants goes to get towels, the visitors, overwhelmed with curiosity, snoop. They see the phone lines have been cut. Then uh oh! They see the writing on the wall — literally. Strange scribblings and religious-looking symbols are scrawled on the walls. Patriarch Facinelli tells everyone they’ll be okay if they stick together.

But, what fun would that be? As folks must do in horror movies, they venture off alone into dark hallways and stumble upon unthinkable things. It’s no “Exorcist” but it’s good spooky fun with plenty of scares and watching Peter Facinelli do anything is a treat.

“The Damned” opens in New York City theaters on Aug. 29. It’s available now on iTunes and On Demand. Rated R. 88 min.

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