HOUSE OF DARKNESS (2022) [Grimmfest 2022 Review]

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House of Darkness

Directed by Neil LaBute
Screened at Grimmfest 2022

After meeting an attractive woman on a night out at a local bar, Hap drives her home to her secluded estate in the country where he discovers she’s not only beautiful but wealthy too. After being invited into her home, he hopes that it might be his lucky night but his plans for seduction take an unexpected turn.

Justin Long is one of those actors who may be low key in the horror genre and in the world of cinema as a whole, but when he does appear in genre movies, he does so with a bang. HOUSE OF DARKNESS is no different. First in Jeepers Creepers, then Tusk and now in this dark comedy horror from Neil LaBute.

Kate Bosworth puts in a brilliant performance as the mysterious woman Long’s businessman Hap picks up at the bar. She’s quite difficult to read and seems to continuously control the conversation and block his attempts at taking the reigns even though he does a good enough job of relinquishing them himself. Right from the opening, where we see them chatting in his car before she invites him into her castle-like stately home, Hap’s awkwardness, and perhaps concern at being too forward with a woman in this day and age, puts him at a disadvantage. However, as the two unwind in her home in front of the roaring fire, we get to learn a bit about who Hap is and discover he may not be being completely honest, something which Bosworth’s character confronts him on at almost every opportunity, being a strong purveyor of truth. Watching her systematically take him down and build him back up again is uncomfortable to watch as it must be for Hap to experience, but lends a curiosity as to who she is and what her intentions are. Her behaviour, as Hap remarks, is not like other ladies, and let’s be honest, like most people, which draws our attention and pulls the viewer into this scenario we’re watching unfold.

This character-driven story is captivating to watch and thus its 90 minute run-time absolutely zooms by with wicked splendour. Long portrayals of discomfort and nervousness, followed by drunken confidence, is brilliant to watch and makes Hap a very likeable guy for the viewer to connect with, even if he does seem to be bragging to his work colleague on the phone about how he’s about to score. Perhaps a case of wishful thinking?

HOUSE OF DARKNESS has a few surprises up its sleeve and horrors fans will quickly try to piece things together as certain elements are revealed. However, the real enjoyment comes from simply watching events unravel in front of us.

A deliciously, dark horror comedy that binds the classic gothic with modern day thrills, blending the uncomfortable with the intimate complimented by its delectable cast of four.

Rating: ★★★★☆


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About Bat 4393 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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