June 3, 2012

Filthy Review - The House

The House (2007)

Review by Jude Felton

Over the years there have been some terrific horror flicks that have come out of Thailand, movies such as Shutter, Dorm and The Eye. Even the slightly less impressive, but still enjoyable flicks such as Sick Nurses and P offered up something worthwhile for the viewer. So, it confuses me a little as to why The House, which is directed by The Victim’s Monthon Arayangkoon, has taken so long to get this UK release. Am sure it could be any one of numerous reasons, although the quality of the film I would think it not the reason. The House doesn’t tread any real new ground, but what it does it does quite well.

The film itself follows Shalinee, a young and attractive journalist, whose latest assignment is to investigate a murder from a few years previous. Her investigations lead her to uncover some similarities between this murder and two others murders that happened 40 years ago. The one thing that seems to tie them all together is the house of the title.

Shalinee thinks she spies a figure at the window, doors open and close by themselves and other strange occurrences, some more gruesome than others, happen whilst she is there.
You might be forgiven in thinking that The House, purely from its title, is just another haunted house movie. It is in fact a blend of sub-genres within horror. You have your vengeful ghosts, Hannibal Lector(ish) killers, ghostly figures and quite a few other influences in here, and for the most part it does work quite well. The film starts off quite strongly; the tension builds nicely and the more gruesome scenes do have an impact.

The movie suffers though in the middle section though, where it ambles along a bit and never seems to get up to full speed. Thankfully the last third is quite strong, but it is slow going in places to get there. The film probably could have benefitted from having 15 or 20 minutes lopped off its 1 hr. 45 min running time, which would have resulted in a far leaner beast.

Whether due to budget or the effects of time some of the CGI effects are a little on the poor side, and are very noticeable. This is a bit of a shame as there are some really cool effects that do work in the film in other places; especially a scene with a young lady decaying as she sits on a chair. Overall though, on a visual level, there are some nice creepy moments, even if some of it we have seen before.

One other gripe of mine is some of the dialogue. Now, this may be down to problems with translation, but asking if “this is why you are so full of hatred?” after being told of the horrors that happened to one particular character just doesn’t make sense.

If anything, The House is a case of too much going on and not enough focus on one particular area. That all being said the film does have its creepy moments, a good smattering of claret and fairly solid production values and acting. Whilst not in the class of Dorm or The Eye, The House does sit quite nicely in the second tier of Thai horror alongside the aforementioned Sick Nurses and P.

The House isn’t perfect, and it is far from the worst Thai horror flick I have seen, so on that note I would say approach with an element of caution. There is plenty of good stuff in the movie to enjoy, just as long as you don’t mind roughing some of the film’s weak areas.

The House is released in the UK on DVD on June 4th through MVM.

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