April 29, 2016 The Seasoning House (Movie Review)
Warning: The Seasoning House is not for everyone! Director Paul Hyett (The Descent 2005, Doomsday 2008) along with Writers Conal Palmer (From Hell 2001, Running Scared 2006) and Adrian Rigelsford (Space Island 1998, Doctor Who: Lost in the Dark Dimension 2014) reinvented the Revenge film by serving the audience an original and completely graphic Horror. Even though The Seasoning House was filmed in 2012, Cinematographer Adam Etherington was able to capture the year 1996 perfectly by paying attention to every single detail. Having won a variety of awards such as The Critics Award at Mile High Horror Festival and Best Film, Director, and Actress at Bragacine IFF in Portugal, The Seasoning House did not hold back on how explicit the gore and the violence was.
With an ensemble mainly composed of English actors like Rosie Day (Sixteen 2006, Howl 2015), Sean Pertwee (The Magnificent Eleven 2014, Gotham 2014), and Kevin Howarth (Don’t Look Back! 2003, Gallowwalkers 2012), along with supporting actors Anna Walton (A Girl and a Gun 2007, 5 Days of War 2011) as Violeta, Jemma Powell (The Hole 2001, Alice in Wonderland 2010) as Alexa, and David Lemberg (The Outsiders 2006, Blood and Bone China 2012) as Dimitri, The Seasoning House did not shy away from representing what human trafficking is like in the real world. The film was released in the UK on June 21, 2013 and is now available to rent or own in DVD or stream on Netflix.
The year is 1996 and young girls are being abducted from their homes in the Balkans after having the rest of their family senselessly slaughtered. Goran (Pertwee) is the commander of the violent militia and controls Viktor (Howarth) and, in turn, Viktor’s brothel. When Angel (Day) is brought to him, Viktor realizes she is a deaf mute and develops a special kind of liking to her. He teaches Angel how to administer heroin to the other girls and forces her to either do that or suffer the same fate as the others, such as being brutally raped, beaten up, and even killed by the hands of the militia men.
Angel forms a friendly connection to Violeta and quickly becomes her only real family. When Goran arrives one day with all the men, there is one in particular that has a thirst for blood. From one of the air vents, Angel witnesses her Violeta being strangled, so she walks right up to the soldier and stabs him several times once she realizes Violeta is dead. The extremely graphic struggle between the soldier and Angel lasts a grueling five minutes until he finally gives up and dies. Goran hears the struggle and rushes to the room, where he finds the dead soldier. He then orders everyone else to bring him the head of Angel.
This is when things start to get even more interesting. Angel is a fragile deaf/mute girl so the audience does not expect her to fight back. But, as the events continue, we learn that witnessing her mother being shot three times in front of her toughened Angel up more than she thought. Viktor’s loyalty is tested after Goran makes him choose between him and Angel. Little by little, Angel weeds out the bad guys and runs away, but Goran is not an easy target. Will Angel survive after all the things she has been through, or will Goran kill her and add one more “worthless” girl to his list?
One of the reasons why The Seasoning House is a hidden gem is because this Thriller delivers horror upon horror, upon even more Horror. It is also not very well known in the US. It does not try to target a broader audience by cutting out explicit scenes, the cinematographer went all out when deciding to show every single cut and stab there was in the film. Movies like this are what movie lovers want. People want to see killers who do not feel remorse when perpetrating their crimes. The Seasoning House also touches upon a very prominent and unfortunate problem society has – human trafficking and prostitution. Many girls and boys around the world are being sold to places such as the brothel house in the movie. Many do not realized how dangerous the world can be and Hyett, along with the rest of the producers, gave us a glimpse of what really happens to these stolen, innocent children. The Seasoning House should only be viewed if one is not easily stunned and can handle exceedingly graphic scenes. It is a story of survival and revenge, right up any Horror movie lover’s alley. CrypticRock gives The Seasoning House 5 out of 5 stars.