The Seasoning House - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
PAUL Hyett’s Balkans-set horror-thriller The Seasoning House is just about as nasty as the genre can get.
The house in question is a brothel of sorts where kidnapped young girls are taken to be offered up for the sexual gratification of soldiers.
Trapped within is mute Angel (Rosie Day), who has been ‘adopted’ by the house owner Viktor (Kevin Howarth) to ‘care’ for the other girls and get them ready for any guests, which usually means cleaning up their blood and injecting them with drugs.
Things begin to change, however, when Angel befriends another girl who can sign with her. But this friendship is quickly jeopardised by the return of the sadistic Goran (Sean Pertwee), the man responsible for killing Angel’s family and taking her to the house. When one of his men goes too far with Angel’s new friend, she takes bloody revenge.
It’s hard to know who Hyett’s film is aiming to please. For while the director may claim that it seeks to shine a light on a very real situation taking place in war zones around the world, it’s as flimsy an excuse for prolonged on-screen sadism as the similarly themed A Serbian Film.
And while Hyett remains careful not to reveal too much female flesh or dwell on the rapes, he still can’t avoid accusations of being highly exploitative as there is no doubt that this is a horror film designed to thrill and entertain as much as upset and disturb.
The second half of the film, for example, is pure revenge fantasy as Angel picks off her adversaries while being chased through walls. And while some of this is shot in a tense, claustrophobic manner, it’s clearly designed to get the blood pumping and leave a sense of satisfaction that the bad guys get what they deserved. In doing so, it negates any dubious claim the film has to be saying something of note.
A last act twist merely adds to the feeling of dejection, leaving you with the same sense of disgust as the equally lamentable Eden Lake.
The Seasoning House is therefore a highly questionable movie that is deeply unpleasant and totally unnecessary. I would suggest that if Hyett had really wanted to open a debate on the issue he should have made a documentary.
Running time: 89mins
UK Release Date: June 21, 2013