August 19, 2014

Netflix Review: The Seasoning House (2013)
It's not very often that a movie comes along that disturbs us to the point where we find it difficult to watch; Baby Blues (2008), Martyrs, A Serbian Film, In my Skin, The Girl Next Door, Inside... it's usually movies like that which include graphic torture, realistic abuse, or violence against kids, that truly get to us.

The Seasoning House contains all three of those things, and it was most definitely a tough watch.

Torture Porn is probably our least favorite sub-genre in Horror, mainly because we prefer to have fun with, or get the shit scared out of us by the movies we watch.

Excessive violence, especially that which is more realistic in nature, never really equals "fun" to us. As long as said violence is surrounded by a solid movie that has something else to offer us though, we can live with it. We may flinch a lot, but we can live with it.

Angel is a sweet young girl who witnesses her family being killed by Soldiers, is taken by those Soldiers and sold to a local whorehouse, and then is told that she's not good enough to be a whore because she's deaf, dumb, and has an odd birthmark on her face. To add further insult to injury, she is put to work by her skeezy Pimp, drugging the other girls, "making them pretty" for the scumbag customers, and then cleaning them up after they've been beaten and raped... This girl just can not catch any sort of break, whatsoever.

All she ever wanted to do was sit and watch whatever was on TV in whatever Eastern Bloc Country she came from.
It's no wonder that Angel climbs through the walls and crawlspaces of the whorehouse at night, because by this point she's probably insane and thinks that she's escaping somehow. She ends up making friends with one of the other girls, which really lifts her spirits... until the squad of Soldiers from the beginning of the movie return for some "fun." When said fun ends with Angel's new gal pal being raped and killed, she loses her shit and starts killing people.

Friends 'til the end... which is in about 20 minutes from now.
Will Angel survive in the walls long enough to escape the whorehouse of doom? Will anyone help her, anyone at all? Can a small child ever hope to single-handedly kill a squad of well-trained, violent Soldiers? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, but suffice it to say that answer to all of those questions is "yes, but..."

Things get messy.
The Seasoning House is a bleak, dire, depressing, and revolting movie, that is at the same time gorgeous, intense, and oddly inspiring in a way. If you can stomach its heavy subject matter and horrifying visuals, this is one well-made and effective movie to experience. I say experience, because watching this movie truly was one.

This one starts off as a grim Horror offering and then segues into a revenge Thriller almost effortlessly, and by the end, we're not only hoping for Angel to be able to survive her ordeal, but we're rooting for her to kill every sick bastard that has it coming to them. This movie may not be for everyone, but those folks that it is geared towards should enjoy its pacing and turn of events.

Be warned though: The Seasoning House is full of scenes involving rape and violence against women, and there will be a lot of people out there who will have a very hard time sitting through them. Proceed with caution.

We have to give serious kudos here to Rosie Day, for having the wherewithal to tackle such a tough role at the age of what, 17? That's some pretty heavy subject matter for a girl so young to not only comprehend, but to convey to an audience in such a convincing manner. She played her role here deftly, making us truly feel her character's plight, and making us believe that the things she was doing were entirely possible. Oh yeah, and she did all of this without uttering one line of dialogue.

Give her time, she'll be huge.
We had to suspend our disbelief to be able to accept that a timid, demure, slip of a girl like Angel could kill a squad of highly-trained, rough, violent Soldiers like she did. The film made that scenario fairly plausible for the most part, but it was still a bit of a rough pill to swallow.

I don't think that I could stab this guy to death, let alone a little girl.
Shit like this really happens to women and young girls all over the world, and that is about as horrendous as it gets. No jokes, no quips, that type of shit is just abominable.

He's obviously a real tough guy.
This movie is all sorts of violent and bloody: we get girls being beaten and raped; people being stabbed; throats being slit; plenty of gun violence, a smashed face... and because of the dirty, realistic settings throughout the movie, the violence feel very authentic.

Yeah, shit goes down in this one.
Though the movie is about young girls being forced into prostitution, there is no female nudity here at all; and given the film's subject matter, we're absolutely fine with that. We do get some male nudity, and plenty of sexual scenes and situations, but The Seasoning House just isn't graphic in "that" way.

In a cheesy slasher flick, we'd find her sexy. Not here though.
Pimpin' ain't easy. Also, being a young girl in certain parts of the world is even less easy.

Kill 'em all, baby. Kill 'em all.
The goal of any film should be to affect its audience in some profound way, and The Seasoning House did exactly that with us. This is not so much an "enjoyable" movie, as it is a really good movie that tested our resolve, and plucked our frigging nerves like guitar strings. If the grittier offerings of the film world are your thing, then this is one movie that you should definitely check out. If not, we won't judge you for giving it a pass.


The Seasoning House is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and as of right now, it's streaming free on Netflix.

After enduring a bleak and gruesome movie like The Seasoning House, we need a few pretty, smiling faces to make us feel less traumatized... that first pic makes us immediately feel better about what we just saw.

Blu-ray & DVD: The Digital Dread Report for August 19th

A few good movies and a couple of big TV Seasons see release this week, only one of which (Leviathan) was a Day One purchase for us. We're picky like that.

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Leviathan sits in our hot little hands as we speak, waiting for us to give it a spin and relive some fond childhood memories. In 1989, Hollywood gave us three underwater Horror/Sci-Fi movies: The Abyss, Deepstar Six, and Leviathan. The Abyss was probably the best of them, but Leviathan has always held a special place in our hearts for being a nothing more than a monster movie that was set underwater; no heavy-handed messages, no aliens, just Peter Weller doing battle with a mutoid creature... underwater. How could that not be great? Scream Factory does it again with this one, and we can't recommend it highly enough. *For the record, we'd gladly buy The Abyss or Deepstar Six on Blu-ray, if they were available.

Ti West's latest movie, The Sacrament (our  review HERE), is an effective Found Footage flick about a creepy cult, and the dumbasses that are dumbass enough to try and expose them to the world. This was a pretty good entry into the FF sub-genre, and it's worth checking out for Gene Jones' fantastic performance alone.

We're also liking the Identity/Vacancy 2-pack, which features two solid Thrillers for a really cheap price. We will definitely be upgrading our DVD's and buying this one.
After liking the first one so much, we were really, really disappointed in The Amazing Spider-Man 2; it was clunky, goofy, and far too busy for its own good... and don't even get us started on Rhino being a dude in a robotic suit. Sadly, we will not be adding this one to our collections.

The Quiet Ones was a rental at best; we've yet to see Only Lovers Left Alive, so no opinion on that one, although from what we hear it's supposed to be great; and Toy Story of Terror! would be great if we were still 6-years-old.

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Fans of Boardwalk Empire and Once Upon a Time should be thrilled this week with the latest seasons of both shows hitting Blu/DVD. Revolution fans, on the other hand, must be conflicted; after being cancelled, is there really a point to buying this new season knowing that some questions will never be answered, and that its potential storylines will never be realized?

Rosemary's Baby is a no go for us.

Lots of B-Grade schlock here, most of which we'll wait to catch on the Netflix's of the world, if at all.