HOUSE OF DARKNESS
(director/writer: Neil LaBute; cinematographer: Daniel Katz; editor: Bridget Durnford; music: Adam Bosage; cast: Kate Bosworth (Mena Murray), Justin Long (Hap Jackson), Gia Crovatin (Lucy), Lucy Walters (The third Vengeful Siren); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Daryl Freimark, Tim Harms, Neil LaBute, Shaun Sanghani, Kerri Elder, Blake Elder: Saban Films; 2022)
“The nasty story is deliciously told by the masterful LaBute from the man’s viewpoint.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The first film of Neil LaBute (“In the Company of Men”/“The Wicker Man”) since his 2016 bomb of Dirty Weekend. It provides a guideline for proper conduct for the moderns in today’s dating circles.
Hap Jackson (Justin Long) is a decent young guy but for his habit of flirting. The business consultant offers the mysterious and wealthy Mena Murray (Kate Bosworth) a ride home from the local bar. Their banter is awkwardly pleasant. Her house in the country is a Gothic castle.
Later in the evening, in the dark (the electricity doesn’t work) and spooky house, Mena’s equally pretty sister Lucy (Gia Crovatin) appears. She also excites the young man.
The turnaround here is that the seducer becomes the prey, as the ladies have brought him here for a reason he’s blindsided by, and when the horror part of the film kicks in it becomes frightening.
The nasty story is deliciously told by the masterful LaBute from the man’s viewpoint, and gives us a cautionary tale that branches out to a sinister horror pic.
It premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 3/13/2022 GRADE: B