A trio of maniacal and heartless criminals make the ultimate mistake when they target the wrong family to hold hostage and unintentionally let loose a dangerous experiment from the depths of The Dead House.
Directed by Italian Filmmaker Amerigo Brini in his debut (and shot in his native land), The Dead House (formerly known as Beautiful People at the point of its original 2013 release) finally makes its way to the UK and is a home invasion horror feature that incorporates multiple subgenres into one piece of film. Using the invasion angle at its core, Brini blends it quite uniquely with mutated creatures and practical effects that look far superior than they should in a film with this type of budget.
Scientist John Pontecorvo (David White) and his wife Elena (played exceptionally well by British indie star Kate Davies-Speak) live a comfortable life with their two sons Paul and Mikey until one fateful night, criminals Testamento, Nibbio and his younger brother Brett, cause havoc in the most sinister way possible. The leader of the trio, Nibbio, is played tremendously well by Bournemouth born actor Danny Cutler (The Antwerp Dolls) and always manages to keep the tension at a legitimately high level. His menacing figure and stature coupled with brilliant close up shots of his performance pull the audience into the Pontecorvo’s horrifying predicament. Brini’s use of very little to no background music apart from natural ambient sounds layers on the horror and creates a very realistic scenario before thrusting you into an interesting and fast-paced second act.
After the trio unwittingly let loose an army of zombified creatures on the world, the family must make their escape as they battle with more than one evil force. Valeria Petrignano did a wonderful job at creating the practical effects make-up for the creatures and they were undeniably some of the best I’ve seen in independent films. Sunken eyes and rotting flesh gave the monsters a human feel whilst also being incredibly chilling.
After a stunningly tense and brutal first act and a striking change in pace during the second, the film unfortunately suffers with a bewildering sudden ending during its final scenes. The Dead House has a remarkably short runtime at just 75 minutes and could have easily gone for at least another 15 in order to wrap up the story in a much tidier manner than it actually goes for.
The Dead House manages to merge together multiple genres in honourable effect with each member of the cast playing their part in moving the story along. For fans of gore, great effects and terrifyingly good performances, this certainly ticks the box.REVIEW: THE DEAD HOUSE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: BRINI AMERIGO / SCREENPLAY: BRINI AMERIGO / STARRING: DANNY CUTLER, ALEX LUCCHESI, ALEX SOUTHERN, KATE DAVIES-SPEAK / RELEASE DATE: UK (TBC), US (OUT NOW)