May 1, 2018 House of Evil (Movie Review)
Well-received at both the Ferrara Film Festival and the Italian New Horror Film Festival, Breaking Glass Pictures recently acquired the U.S. rights to House of Evil, setting a DVD and VOD release for Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
A retrospective cinematic treat, the 85-minute-long movie was directed by Luca Boni (Apocalypse Z 2013, Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead 2015) and Marco Ristori (Chiudi gli occhi 2006, Morning Star 2013), and rewinds time to a decade where life was unencumbered by the complexities of modern society. This vision of simplicity is enhanced with spot-on retro-’70s hip attire and hairstyles that showcase the artistic nature of each of the on-screen characters, all while providing a distinct vintage appeal to the audience. Through this ‘less is more’ approach, the directors strive to tell a captivating tale based on a true story that does not require computer-generated imagery to keep the eyes fastened on-screen. In this regard, House of Evil surpasses all expectations.
Throughout House of Evil, neuronal activity within the brain corresponds to the telltale signs of a vile and putrefying evil presence slinking within the dark recesses of the house, and triggers the heart to race in the ‘fight or flight’ response. The signs are contained within the orchestral progression of light and dark film segments, ultimately creating an overall impression of malevolent forces hard-at-work and instilling an overwhelming sense of dread. To further drive the point home, stills pepper the piece throughout and add a dramatic aura of sinister intent.
That in mind, House of Evil opens with some gruesome film-footage of a man bludgeoning his family in their home. This is an excellent way to capture the attention of the viewer with cinematic talons in one fell swoop; blood is spilled and the downward spiral begins. Then, a couple, John and Kate, are seen driving along the highway with pet dog in tow. They appear to be an ideal couple in the bud-stage of romance based on their bantering back and forth and physical expressions of affection. They are both eager to set-up house in a picturesque setting, far away from the bustle of city life and determined to get down to the business of creating a family of their own. John – portrayed by Andrew Harwood Mills (Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead 2015, Retribution 2016) – appears to dote on Kate. On the other hand, Kate – portrayed by Lucy Drive (Dead End 2012, Cassette 2013) – is a woman determined to make this relationship work at any cost.
Unbeknownst to the couple, their new home was the scene of a heinous crime and their lives begin to intertwine with the evil that resides in the house, creating a high-stakes game that opens up a gaping chasm in their relationship. As time goes by, the pair become isolated and their only contact is from Kate’s bestie, Corrine – played by Désirée Giorgetti (Alaska 2015, The Blind King 2016) – and a seemingly innocuous priest (David White: Zombie Massacre 2013, The Reaping 2017). Corrine, who has the best intentions at heart, lets fly the brutal truth, and her stay at the house is cut short, while the priest spills the beans about the history of the house.
When the couple finally do receive some good news, it is clouded by John’s seemingly overnight personality transformation. This is reminiscent of what happened in 1979’s The Amityville Horror, leaving the audience to wait with suspended breath for the outcome. Here, let us just say that divine intervention is certainly not knocking on the door of this particular abode!
It is refreshing to view a movie that has a no-frills approach to cinematography, while the timeline of the film is that of a much simpler time, coupled with a touch of innocence. If you want a break from the tried-and-true template of Horror, then this may just be the fresh air you are looking for. That is why CrypticRock gives House of Evil a 4 out of 5 stars.