YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN...
Director: Reinert Kiil
Writers: Reinert Kiil, Jan Helge Lillevik (translation)
1 HOUR 30 MINUTES
Right off the bat, an impressive (for it’s relatively paltry budget) technical display. The House is shot well, sounds great, and features more than adequate performances from its leads. There’s a welcome dash of comedy littered throughout as well, and much of it actually works hand-in-hand with the liberal use of jump scares, making for some great juxtaposition. One second you’re shrieked out of your skin and the next, you’re laughing uncomfortably. There really isn’t much to complain about with the film’s presentation, a commonality shared across much of Artsploitation’s catalog. But that doesn’t mean The House is free from problems elsewhere…
Set in the frozen wilderness of Norway during WWII, 2 German soldiers escort a Norwegian soldier and prisoner of war but the weather is taking a toll on them. They find an empty house near the forest where they finally can get some rest. However, what seems to be a warm and welcoming shelter turns much more sinister and deadly. They begin to wonder if they have somehow have stepped into a sort of psychological hell from which there may be no escape.
I won’t lie, some of my problem with House came as a result of the misconceptions formed after viewing the trailer. I went into this thinking it was going to be a visceral pulse-pounding exorcism world war mashup (what a mouthful). Instead, Reinert Kiil delivers a patient, moody, atmosphere-driven psychological thriller—with flashes of pulse-pounding. And that’s fine, but even after calibrating expectations, I still felt robbed at times. There were too many moments for instance, which played towards a build-up of anticipation, adding to the bank of terror, only to either pull the rug out from under its viewer—usually with empty “gotcha!” type jump scares—or by simply not delivering hard enough on legitimate scares. Given the underlying exorcism plot, and the amazing locale, there were so many opportunities to really ramp up the horror from a supernatural standpoint.
Still, the road taken by the film does lead to some rather unique places, narratively speaking. By the time the final third of House rolled around, I began to let go of what could have been, and really dug what it actually was (a clever toying of time and space). Just in time too! With the finale came a twist which left me nodding my head in approval; all preceding moments elevated as a result. I was actually reminded somewhat of Nacho Vigalondo’s 2007 thriller, Timecrimes—which is a very good thing. Ultimately I can see this being a case where repeat viewings play out better than the first, and thanks to its atmospheric strengths and technical competency, an eye-pleasingly creepy film to run through—over and over again.
The cinematography in this film is in my opinion, the best thing about it. House captures a dark essence that is prominent throughout which fit the film well The story was surprising in some ways which kept me interested and invested in everything that was going on. Even though I do like the set up in the first half of the film, the second half of the film is the strongest and delivers on some effective and creepy moments. As far as the acting goes I think most of the cast did a solid job and The House is the best work that I have seen so far from Reinert Kiil.