September 26, 2018 Housewife (Movie Review)
“There’s only you and your dreams,” proclaims a truly bizarre new Turkish Horror offering, Housewife, which arrives to VOD, Digital, and DVD on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, thanks to RLJE Films.
Holly (Clémentine Poidatz: Marie Antoinette 2006, Mars series) is haunted by the memories of a horrifying family tragedy that occurred in her youth. Now an adult and married to author/esoteric researcher Timucin “Tim” Erguvan (Ali Aksöz: The Mountain 2012, Medcezir series), she finds herself trapped with one foot always in the past and one desperately trying to live in the now. Struggling with the idea of starting her own family, suffering from panic attacks, Holly is in a bizarre mental space. When she randomly dreams of a friend who mysteriously disappeared two years earlier, the woman, Valery (Alicia Kapudag: Rearview 2013, Servet series), seems to inexplicably materialize the very next day.
This all seems to tie into Valery’s involvement with the Umbrella of Love and Mind, a bizarre cult-like organization that practices “dream surfing,” a kind of astral projection. When she convinces Holly and Tim to be her special guests at a ULM event one evening, the group’s charismatic leader, Bruce O’Hara (David Sakurai: Iron Fist series, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald 2018), takes an immediate shine to Holly. What follows is a truly peculiar, sensual, and sumptuous journey into some of the darkest, least explored reaches of the mind.
Clocking in at 82 minutes in-length, Housewife was directed by the superbly-talented Can Evrenol (Sandik short 2007, Baskin 2015) and was written by Evrenol and Cem Özüduru (Gul short 2016, Wolf series). The film also features Defne Halman (Lifelong 2013, Homicide Unit Istanbul series) as Mother.
Housewife is one of those unique films that utterly defies a proper explanation, and every viewer is likely to walk away with an entirely unique viewing experience. What can be said is that this is a story that involves psychological elements, astral projection (aka astral travel), and a kind of gentle nod to Sci-Fi/Horror and H.P. Lovecraft. That all amounts to characters who can seemingly travel forwards and backwards in time, tap into one another’s dreams, and influence events in one another’s lives. What is reality and what is merely a dream? That is for each viewer to decide.
It is important to note that this is a film that is not for the faint of heart and should definitely be considered a hard R-rating. There is sex, masturbation, and nudity; an Ed Gein-ish scene; people crawling out of toilets; and a woman giving birth to a bizarre, alien chrysalis. Yes, it’s a truly strange film, but one that does a splendid job of building that tension that makes us afraid to look at what’s about to happen on screen next – and yet too enthralled to ever truly look away. In the film, Holly is trapped inside her own head, and we are trapped along with her!
This is much in thanks to the superb acting of the ensemble cast, who are able to bring their multi-faceted, unparalleled tale to life. Poidatz’ Holly is a young woman considering a huge leap into motherhood, and yet unable to let go of her past and live in the now. Poidatz effectively communicates the intricacies of her well-rounded character’s personal dilemma, allowing viewers to sympathize with this haunted woman.
As her husband, Aksöz is understanding to a degree and yet his character remains flat-enough that we never learn all that much about Tim; not for a want of Aksöz’ acting, which communicates his artistic struggles beautifully. However, it is Sakurai’s depiction of the deliciously charismatic cult leader Bruce that ties the entire production together. Sakurai is the spider who weaves the web, and all of the characters are willing to immediately climb right in.
With a wonderful original score by Antoni Maiovvi (Hangman 2015, Mutant Blast 2018) that oft features 1980s Moog synths to weave a Sci-Fi feel, Housewife is an intriguing film that you must experience to understand – or, more truthfully, it’s an experience you will probably never fully understand. Underneath it all, is this a film about a woman’s fears of motherhood? Maybe. Or perhaps it’s a journey into dream-surfing, one that wears human skin to tell a futuristic, alien tale complete with Cthulu tentacles.
Whatever the case, you are not likely to soon forget Housewife and, for this, its powers lay in its truly eerie and outlandish story-telling. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Housewife 4 of 5 stars.