Before I begin this week's review, I need to remind some of you little creeps about how I review around here. Remember, minions, I don't give spoilers. I refuse to go into detail about scenes, character advancement or really anything in the film that has to do with story. I will, however, talk about why I thought the film was good and a few bits that made it that way for me.
Well, for this week's treacherous treat, I give you a review of the psychological horror film, "House of Good and Evil." The filmmakers did not waste my time, and totally fulfilled their part by doing their job of entertaining, and doing it quite well. The film definitely evoked a deep emotional response on my part.
On a Lili's Lair scale of 1-5 Skulls, I give this one a 4.
The basis of the movie is that husband and wife Chris and Maggie Conley, played by Christian Oliver and Rachel Marie Lewis, move away from the city to a remote old house that Chris quickly christens as "Conley Manor." Chris and Maggie make this move to create a fresh start after a recent traumatic experience. They move into the house sight unseen, and to make matters worse, their fresh start, dream home is not actually all theirs. It is a duplex being shared by an old dysfunctional couple that will leave you with a sense of dread wondering what type of malevolence they may or may not be up to.
Great way to try and start over, huh?
The movie brilliantly starts you off feeling a bit "WTF? How horrible?" in the first five minutes. The film then continues to take you down a twisting, turning, "What the hell is going on?" and "Wow, she's a real nutter isn't she?" story line that takes place in a creepy old house that may or may not be trying to kill the Conleys and everyone else in it.
As I watched, I kept wondering what was going to happen, and what was going on with Chris Conley and the weird neighbours. Thanks to writer Blu de Golyer's clever storytelling, I never did figure it out. The end left me saying out loud (which I generally do not do, and which acts as evidence of a really good story): "Oh my gods - seriously? Why didn't I see this coming?"
I will say I was kinda sorta close in one of my theories as to what was going on, but alas, no prize for me.
The movie made me uptight, anxious, irritated and sweaty palmed, just like a good psychological thriller should. But it could only do so if the setting, the story, the directing, and the performances were good, as well. Screw up on one of those things and a movie like this not only falls short, but falls apart.
Luckily for "House of Good and Evil," all four components were there. From the isolated backdrop of the old, creepy duplex with no electricity or phone service; continuing with the spot-on directing by David Mun, who made his directing debut with this film (Impressive, and in my opinion, a much better director with his first film than many "famous" directors are in Hollywood today with many films under their belts.); and the great performance by the talented and handsome Christian Oliver as Chris Conley; and finally, to a truly brilliant portrayal of the mentally unstable Maggie Conley by Rachel Marie Lewis. Of course, last but not least, is writer Blu de Golyer, who created a disturbing story that you will remember with that lingering uneasy feeling with which a good screw with your mental state should leave you.
So, my merry little maniacs, if you want to treat yourself to a roller coaster ride on the backbone of disturbing creepiness, do yourselves a favour and watch "House of Good and Evil." You will not be disappointed.
Oh, and one final note: if you truly want to enjoy this movie, do not go fishing around for reviews with spoilers and picked-apart art house interpretations of the movie's "meaning." You will be glad you didn't.
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