MOVIE REVIEW: The Seasoning House

Written & Directed by Paul Hyett

Cast: Rosie Day
Sean Pertwee
Kevin Howarth

It’s hard to review movies with disturbing and controversial subject matters. Is there really any way to say I enjoyed a movie about sex trafficking , whose lead character is a 14-year-old girl, without sounding like a creep? No. It is next to impossible. Thus is the curse of being a horror film fan. When someone like Paul Hyett ( SFX maestro of Attack the Block, The Descent and about 50 more amazing flicks) tackles a controversial topic for his debut feature film it’s received with mixed feelings. Much like watching a car stalled on train tracks and a steam engine hurdling towards it, you know you shouldn’t watch,but you can’t help to look away. The moral compass we all have inside us feels guilty and leads us away from the chaos. Not for Paul Hyett. He jumps head first into the crash and never once turns away.

Set in a country during a civil war, Angel (Rosie Day), a deaf teenage mute, is ripped from her family by a savage militia lead by Goran ( Sean Pertwee) and forced into sex slavery. Unlike the other girls sold to the brothel, Angel is spared the life of forced prostitution when owner of the brothel, Viktor, takes a liking to her and decides to keep her to himself. Angel is then giving the duties of cleaning up the girls and making sure they are doped up prior to clients visiting. Making use of the crawl spaces and air vents Angel spies on the clients as they abuse and rape the fellow captives. It’s when Goran and his militia show up for a break from all the killing and raping they’ve been doing and brutally rape Angel’s only friend to death (doesn’t seem like much of a break), that she decides enough is enough and seeks revenge. What follows is a brutal and unrelenting fight for survival.

Paul Hyett is a SFX living legend, so it’s no surprise that action and gore are all raw and realistic. What is a surprise is how Hyett has not opted to do a special effects opus, but only use the gore to enhance the chaos and illustrate the depravity in this all too real world he created. The really disgusting and disturbing moments of the film revolve around characters and not the special effects. Paul Hyett proves that he is more than just a effects guru and that the man knows what is really horrific in this world: Human beings and the horrible actions we take against each other.

More shocking than the SFX is the characters themselves. Kevin Howarth plays Viktor, the leader of the brothel, with a calm, subtle cruelty that is more frighten than any on screen slasher or monster I can recall. Once again Sean Pertwee has created another heinous villain with Goran. Unrelenting, brutal and the very essence of evil, Goran is a great counter balance to the innocent, timid Angel. Rosie Day delivers a break out performance here. Watching Angel live through hell on earth for the first half of the film is a hard watch and Day’s performance depressing and sorrowful, exactly as you expect a teenager girl in her situation. When her revenge is at hand there is a weird comfort to it.

The Seasoning House is a train wreck of a film….a disturbing, brutal and unrelenting train wreck you can’t look away from. SH has yet to be released here in the states ( and no real release date set yet) but when you get a chance to see it I couldn’t recommend it more…. Not sure if I sound like a creep or not.

 

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