BEST UK INDIE HORROR FOR QUITE A WHILE. EMOTIONAL WALLOPS GALORE.
, 10 Aug 2013
This hellish thriller opened the 2012 Frightfest and I bet it was the best British entry by a country mile. Whilst The Seasoning House never escapes its exploitation flick trappings it still grips, twists, repulses and scares you at every point. Director Paul Hyett has certainly established himself as a horror auteur to watch, following on where Neil Marshall (DOG SOLDIERS / THE DESCENT) left off. Saying this film has a gloss that raises it above the average gritty UK indie is probably a bad choice of words because there is nothing glossy about the set-production. There is a certain sheen to the cinematography which gives the illusion that film cost a lot more to make than it actually did. It has a professional veneer which helps add to the films convincing nature. Set in The Balkans in 1996, The Seasoning House is a brothel in which young girls are taken from their homes, doped up with heroin and tied to beds for the sexual gratification of the local militia. The house is a filthy, smelly and broken down haunted house of a building. Lead pimp Viktor (KEVIN HOWARTH SUMMER SCARS) is a merciless thug who takes a liking to a deaf-mute prisoner whom he names Angel (ROSIE DAY IRONCLAD 2). He gives her the terrible task of cleaning the girls and administering their heroin injections. To stay alive she complies but when a young girl (DOMINIQUE PROVOST-CHALKLEY) who can understand sign language gets brutally beaten up by a John, she wreaks a terrible revenge. Meanwhile, the troop of soldiers led by Goran (SEAN PERTWEE LEON THE PIG FARMER) that killed her Mother and Sister shows up stoking her wrath of revenge into an inferno. The film has a great build up, with the past snaking into the present brilliantly as the characters of Angel and Viktor, then later Goran are later introduced. We quickly learn from an eerie opening set piece that Angel can secretly get around the building by sneaking into vents and crawling around between the walls, benefitting from her slender frame. This enables her to outsmart her pursuers in the second half of the movie when the goulash hits the fan. Prowling cameras and an excellent electronic score enhance the grotty surroundings and the films atmosphere. The acting (on the most part) is incredible. Rosie Day (unknown to me) does supreme work with no dialogue and its probably one of the best mute performances Ive seen in decades. Ever horror is registered on her face, her body language spot on. Kevin Howarth is slowly building up a rogues gallery of complex villains. His atrocious Viktor is given layers, where as you cant forgive or emphasise with him, he still invest a lot in an irredeemable yet deep character. Sean Pertwee struggles with a bad Eastern European brogue but other than that he is pretty fearsome as the soldier deeply wronged by Angel, when she begins to wreak her revenge. Unlike Viktor though, Goran is pure evil. Fans of Sean Pertwee-deaths will be pleased that they can add another weird and wonderful one to the list. Thats not a spoiler because if its a horror and Pertwees in it, hes gonna die
.horribly. Almost as good as the leads is the tragic Dominique Provost-Chalkley who invests her nameless sex slave with such conviction, youll be crying stop! at the screen. The horrors her character has to endure at the hands of some of the soldiers is quite devastating and SPOILER her eventual death comes as a relief. Whilst, its not a genre buster, its still got enough emotional power to see it through the more predictable plot arcs that turn up nearer the end. One twist from Southern Comfort, Eden Lake and the very POOR The Hike, has been done too well, too many times for it to be improved upon here. But if you are looking for a straight up horror with a bit more baggage, superior acting and a touch of quality to it check out The Seasoning House. One of 2013, best UK films. 7. 5 out of 10 - High marks in all departments except, originality (near the end) and a crap foreign accent from Sean Pertwee. britpic wordpress com
- Was this review helpful to you?
(16) Yes |