Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
DWF ’13: House of Good and Evil
is a remote fixer-upper with no power or phone lines. The spacious duplex sounds perfect for a
young couple hoping to heal their troubled relationship. They will take it, once the realtor duly shows
them the remnant of the Indian burial ground and the stake where they used to
burn the witches. It is cheap, and best
of all, the second unit already has tenants: the wildly anti-social, old Mr.
and Mrs. Anderson. Unfortunately, their
new surroundings do not have the desired effect in David Mun’s House of Good and Evil (trailer here), which screens
tomorrow as part of this year’s Dances With Films.
Conley has trouble with booze and his temper.
When his wife Maggie miscarries, it is his fault. To make it up to her, he buys her a new house
in the middle of nowhere. Cell service
is spotty out there and the lines go down so often the utilities quit repairing
them. However, there is a lovely
generator out back. Immediately after moving in, she starts hearing a phone
ringing from the Andersons’ side of the house.
Of course, her husband just assumes she is being a hysterical woman and
promptly disappears for his forest firefighter training.
things start to happen to around the creaky old house, but it is the sound of
the ringing phone and Mrs. Anderson’s weird conversations (that sound a lot
like the old “Shut Up Little Man” recordings) that really get to her. Eventually, she becomes rather preoccupied
with her unseen neighbors.
really distinguishes House from the
indie horror pack is the mournful vibe Mun achieves. One gets a powerful sense things would not be
right between the Conleys even if they had moved into a “House of Just Plain
Good.” Sensitively lensed by Jared Noe
and nicely enhanced by Mickey Ray’s detailed sets, House has an unusually strong sense of mise-en-scène compared to
the genre standard. The problem is the
screenplay. Anyone with a few midnight
movies under their belts will predict the third act Shyamalan well before it
Rachel Marie Lewis soldiers on quite compellingly as Maggie Conley and Saved by the Bell refugee Christian
Oliver is actually not bad as her frustrated and frustrating husband. Some of their scenes together have real
bite. Unfortunately, we know where it is
all going, even if they do not.
should work well as a show reel for Mun, his
co-leads, and his technical collaborators.
Audiences will recognize considerable talent went into it, even though
the sum of its parts is greater than its whole.
A passable outing for genre diehards looking for something that has not
been talked to death on fan sites, House
of Good and Evil screens tomorrow night (6/9), concluding the 16th
Dances With Films.
Labels: DWF '13, Horror Movies