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Triple review: "House," "House of the Devil" and "Splice"
God bless the guys over at the Dumb Drum, who have been nice enough to give me some Web space for a couple of movie reviews. It's a trio of films I saw (on DVD) over the holidays: "Hausu, aka House," "House of the Devil" and "Splice." The full reviews can be read on their site, but here's a preview:
“House,” aka “Hausu”
To start off, we’re talking about “House” (Hausu), not “House,” the 1980s horror flick with the dude from “Night Court” or “House,” the current television hit staring Hugh Laurie. This is the avant-garde Japanese film from the 1970s, which somehow resurfaced as a cult hit last year. That should tell you everything you need to know. This is the type of film you’d watch on the basis of its movie poster alone, given you were into movie-poster art, and you could track down a copy (lucky for us, there’s Netflix).
“House of the Devil”
Some horror flicks rely on the big boo, the bang-and-scream loud noise that gets you jumping in your seat. Others rely on watch-through-your-fingers blood and gore, the spatter effect. Some are more subtle than all that. They build the fear slowly, quietly and let it fester until you’re not exactly sure why you’re so freaked out. That’s the creep factor and “House of the Devil” is deep in it.
There is something almost beautiful about the monster in Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice.” Almost, because the creature has an animal’s legs and a tail and dark eyes that are set just a bit too wide to be human. And, well, because it ends up doing what monsters do best — killing and destroying everything in sight. But that happens later, after two scientists (a boyfriend/girlfriend team played by Andrien Brody and Sarah Polley) create the thing from spliced DNA and name it Dren and take it in to raise as a pet (or more likely as a child).