The first thing you need to know about House of Darkness, a horror movie with the possibly most generic title ever, is that not much is going to happen in it. Apart from one juicy, uncompromising and glorious finale, there will be almost no action in this movie. I say this because I can see that a lot of people went into it expecting a classic horror movie, something House of Darkness most certainly is not. Counting on a flawlessly written dialogue and atmosphere full of mystery, this is one of those movies you need to give a chance to flourish. Just play it and see how it hits you.
We will be following Hap, a horny young man who’s just been invited to spend a night in a huge mansion with a beautiful girl. The story is at the same time utterly predictable and unnervingly unpredictable. I can’t quite describe it. It’s like we know what’s going on and we know what’s going to happen but still can’t help feeling this uncomfortable knot in our gut. Probably because the character of Hap was so well developed. Almost every five minutes I was asking myself if was this the moment I would have just left. Or I would be unable to leave, completely smitten by the unexpected date.
I don’t know, I guess you have to be in the mood for a movie like this. And I was definitely in the mood for it. With a distinct play-like vibe, House of Darkness offers a refreshing and intelligent look at a familiar theme. Right from the get-go you know something bad is going to happen. However, the alluring dialogue and the sheer power of Kate Bosworth’s performance will keep pushing you forward. She was seductive, magnetic, and simply mesmerizing loving the focus and the attention. Poor Justin Long, after Tusk and Barbarian, he found himself in another tricky situation.
It is late in the evening when Hap pulls up to a huge and secluded mention. You see, he met a beautiful girl tonight in a bar and after a few drinks offered to drive her home. It turns out that she’s quite wealthy and also captivating. So, when she invites him inside for another drink, Hap thinks he’s just hit the jackpot. He thinks that he’s in for an unforgettable night and he most certainly is.
During the first thirty minutes of House of Darkness, I kept thinking, it can’t be this simple. I mean, there had to be a twist or something. Then I moved on to well, the twist is that there is no twist all the while being completely engulfed in the dialogue and atmosphere. The tension between our two main characters was palpable. Their back and forth, full of sexually charged comments and mysterious innuendoes was a true pleasure to watch. And that fucking choker was the final nail in the coffin, at least for me.
The movie also turns on its head the classic girl alone in the house theme and offers poignant commentary on the joys of modern dating. In terms of the general vibe, it’s reminiscent of Ti West’s retro-horror House of the Devil although that’s a more ominous experience. Finally, I urge you not to watch the trailer for this movie or anything else. Just dive straight into it and let it consume you.
Director: Neil LaBute
Writer: Neil LaBute
Cast: Justin Long, Kate Bosworth, Gia Crovatin, Lucy Walters
Fun Facts: The production took place in Fayetteville, Arkansas.