The Seasoning House: where young girls are prostituted to the military. An orphaned deaf mute is enslaved to care for them. She moves between the walls and crawlspaces, showing the little kindnesses when she can. When fate brings the men that murdered her family and the reason she ended up in the whore house, a chain of events begins that will end her captivity, free the girls still alive in the house and grant her revenge on the soldiers that destroyed her life. (Sourced by: IMDB)
Rumoured to be one of the most unflinching, unsettling and brutal horror films made from first time director Peter Hyett; you may end up feeling as mildly disappointed as I was. My expectations may have been held quite high for this one but I just felt slightly cheated by the fact that this is in no way as shocking or disturbing as its been making itself out to be. It should have offered a lot more but instead as it stands, doesn’t really offer anything different or original from any other film I’ve seen in the survival horror sub-genre type. However, its not a completely bad film, it does deliver the goods halfway through but unfortunately not as much as I was truly hoping for.
Set in the Balkans in 1996, based on horrific true events, seeing the story unfold through the eyes of a young deaf mute known only by the name of Angel, (Day) makes for interesting viewing; one of the few aspects I liked about this film. As we follow her entering every room of the brothel, forced to take ‘care’ of the women that are imprisoned and victimised there by keeping them drugged for their clients, its not long before she strikes up a close friendship with one of them that she previously knew from her past life, shown to us through a number of flashbacks. This doesn’t last though when she bears witness to her new found friend being raped and killed by one of the heartless soldiers led by its leader, Goran (an evil and menacing Sean Pertwee) where she decides its time to turn the tables and take matters in her own hands by avenging her death while escaping certain death herself by using the air vents and crawl spaces behind the walls.
What Hyett does do in this film is knowing where the limit is when showing the audience the right amount of blood and violence, being aware of when to stop showing it if and when it gets too much. There’s a fine line between revealing too much graphic blood and explicit gore that would turn off the viewer and showing just enough but leaving the rest up for the audience to imagine, making the movie still watchable and this is something Hyett really gets, maybe due to his experience working on sets of other films in the makeup department such as The Descent and Unknown.
I think the biggest letdown for me was not getting the final big payoff that I was really looking forward to seeing. Without spoiling (as if I would ever do that) I’ve seen characters getting their revenge on the antagonist(s) in much more severe and crowd pleasing ways, most notably seen in Eden Lake which I rate a lot more highly than this. But maybe its just me, as I mentioned earlier my expectations were way too high for a film that I was expecting to be a lot more brutal and grim than it actually was.
Rating: ★★ 1/2