I remember the last horror movie that I really loved. When I say love, I don’t mean “enjoyed.” There have been plenty of recent horror movies that I enjoyed in just the past month. Sometimes I enjoy them because of the story; other times for the theme; sometimes I just enjoy a good, old-fashioned buckets-of-blood splatter movie.
But “love.” That’s a strong word. It’s a word that you make you fight against all logic and sanity to keep. The last horror movie I truly loved was Session 9. What can I say? I’m a sucker for psychological thrillers that have an insane twist. Not a M. Night Shyamalan “Oh, well, that was unexpected” twist. Those are a dime a dozen. I’m talking about an intense, 360 degree Regan head-twist on screen, the type that makes you look back through the whole movie again to see that, yeah, that’s f##ked up.
Now I can honestly say that I have a new movie I love under the same guidelines: House of Good and Evil.
In House of Good and Evil, estranged couple Maggie (played by Rachel Marie Lewis) and Chris Conley (played by Christian Oliver) move from the big city to a secluded house in the country after losing a baby in an extremely late miscarriage, hoping to rekindle the love that they had lost. But the house may have other plans as mysterious tenants, haunting dreams, and a phantom phone that just won’t stop ringing begin to take its toll on Maggie when Chris is away.
Like so many movies of today, House of Good and Evil seems to hint at being a ghost story in the beginning. Don’t be fooled. It’s not. House of Good and Evil is a slow-burn psychological thriller in line with Session 9 and Flatliners, and is almost a female doppelganger of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in theme. That’s right, I said it. I’m not saying it’s as good and intelligent as The Shining, but I’ll go out on a limb to say that few horror movies have come as close.
The truly horrifying aspect of the film is how Maggie copes with what seems to be Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how Chris tries to help Maggie. With stellar acting and clean, crisp cinematography, House of Good and Evil climaxes into an intense “What the f$%k?” twist that will make you look back on the film (especially the foreplay scene) and literally yell out, “What the f$%k?!”
I give House of Good and Evil 4 out of 5 “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” references, and they are truly well-deserved.
House of Good and Evil is available through VOD now and drops onto DVD April 1st.