MOVIE REVIEW: IN THE HOUSE OF FLIES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: GABRIEL CARRER / SCREENPLAY: ANGUS MCLELLAN / STARRING: LINDSAY SMITH, RYAN KOTACK, HENRY ROLLINS, RYAN BARRETT / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Set in June around 1988, In the House of Flies tells the story of a young couple, Heather (Smith) and Steve (Kotack), whose lives are inadvertently changed forever when they are abducted by an unknown assailant. They soon find themselves isolated, alone and locked in an undisclosed, suburban basement, and become pawns in a twisted, psychological, mind-game with their psychopathic host (voiced by Henry Rollins). Surrounded by several mysterious and locked suitcases – each containing various items, valuables, and clues to their very own survival - Heather and Steve must exploit what remains of their bruised intellect and depleting sanity to escape the authority of their unidentified and brutal abductor.
The film is a psychological horror film that is very tough, very nasty, and quite disturbing to its core, and if you do go and see it, you will probably come out of it wanting a stiff drink afterwards because it’s not an easy ride. The story deals with the themes of abduction, the loss of sanity, childbirth, and how far you would go to protect your loved one from harm, and the story is strong, if somewhat overstretched. The situation is thought out well, though, and builds upon the unsteady ease and tension of the drama by putting the characters, as well as us, in those tight, claustrophobic and seemingly hopeless surroundings.
The performances from the two centrals are very nuanced, and you do get a sense that this couple are being driven to the edge of their sanity as detailed by the incredibly tight close-ups on their dehydrated, worn-out faces. The concept of having the characters being forced to play out a twisted psychological game with nightmarish results has been a customary idea that has been done before in modern horror movies, whether it’s the Saw series or the Thai horror film 13 Beloved, which was typically remade recently into 13 Sins (what is it with Hollywood and remakes?).
Over the course of the drama, we’re meant to feel tension and chills, for which there are some, but it does become tedious. This might be because the concept does become stretched out to fit the 90 minute running time, and it would’ve felt more tightly constrained and focused if it was made shorter. But the two leads do give it their all and do manage to create an uncomfortable and emotional climate that did allow more connection and investment with them and their characters.
Overall, In the House of Flies isn’t something that’s going to reinvent or breathe new life into the horror genre as it’s not completely scary, despite some horrific scenes, and both the slow pace and padded-out storyline made certain sections a tad boring for some. However, the two central performances, the writing, and practical effects were solid enough for an indie film that was made on a micro-budget like this.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10
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