Indie Buzz: House of Good and Evil (2013) Review
Last month we introduced you to a new film entitled House of Good and Evil from Shooting Creek Films, first-time director David Mun and writer Blu de Golyer. First brought to our attention when Blu de Golyer got in touch with us through our Facebook page, we were immediately drawn in by the eye-catching posters and hooked after watching the trailer, we were lucky enough to be sent an online screener of the film.
The plot focuses on a married couple who, in a desperate final bid to save their failing marriage, move from the city to an isolated home deep in the woods. It isn’t long before they discover that everything is not as it should be. Now, after reading the synopsis, we can forgive you for thinking that House of Good and Evil sounds like another bog-standard haunted house flick and whilst it is true that it does share some similarities to films such as The Messengers, it is so much more than that.
The film opens with an establishing shot of the exterior of a city apartment and, as we spy through the window at the shadows moving from room to room and listen to the shouting coming from within, we begin to realise that all is not well for our main characters. We learn that after Chris (Christian Oliver) gets into a drunken rage and pushes his eight months pregnant wife Maggie (Rachel Marie Lewis), the couple lose their unborn child. The loss of their child acts as a wake-up call for Chris and he persuades Maggie to give him another chance and move with him into a large house in the middle of the woods, miles from the nearest town.
The unhappily married couple are scarcely in the house for two minutes (no exaggeration) before Maggie starts getting ‘the wiggins’ about the house and the couple start to argue again when Maggie tries to convince Chris that she keeps hearing a phone ringing next door even though there are no phone lines operating in the area. Chris’s job as a wildfire firefighter takes him away from home for days at a time, leaving Maggie with only herself for company and she is quickly driven half-mad by the phantom phone. In a bid to find out what is going on, she tries to befriend the retired couple next-door and, after several failed attempts to call on them, resorts to breaking into the house. After an eerie scene whereby we see a figure moving around in the kitchen and then behind Maggie *shudders*, Maggie finally meets Mrs. Anderson (Marietta Marich) who seems to be a sweet elderly lady and the pair quickly find parallels in their lives.
Now at this point you may have a few ideas as to where the film is going and we can tell you now that every, single one of you is probably wrong. What is good about House of Good and Evil is that it harks back to an era when films didn’t rely so heavily on the use of CGI, gore or make up to get a reaction from audience. Instead, it uses subtler approaches such as well-timed, deliberately slow camera shots, a tense score and a plethora of strange noises. When you combine the above with a decent screenplay (which sometimes seems a little confused but will all make sense later), good acting and some great sets/locations, the result is a really solid standing for a great horror film. However, what makes House of Good and Evil great is the ending. We haven’t been as surprised by an ending in longer than we can remember.
House of Good and Evil is a great, spooky little film that we can see doing extremely well for itself in the very near future. Well done Shooting Creek Films.
Further to note – House of Good and Evil is an official selection for the Arizona International Film Festival and it has just been announced that Dances With Films Film Festival in Hollywood have also chosen it as an official selection. It has also been picked up for domestic and foreign distribution. Not bad at all for first-time director David Mun.