The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - THE HOUSE | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - THE HOUSE

the house film review
In WWII Norway, two German soldiers and their prisoner seek shelter in an empty cabin that houses a dark secret.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Reinert Kiil

Starring: Frederik von Lüttichau, Mats Reinhardt, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, Evy Kasseth Røsten

the house film poster

With Trollhunter, Dead Snow, Thelma, Rare Exports and more, Norwegian horrors have been kicking goals for some time now. The House, the most recent horror from Norway to hit our screens continues in the line of austere ‘chillers’ designed to freeze your blood.

A WWII prisoner, Rune (Sondre Krogtoft Larsen) is led through the snow by his two Nazi captors who have just watched his POW companion succumb to the elements. When it looks as though he may also die there is a discussion between his captors that makes it clear they are relying on his local knowledge to get them through this wilderness. The tension between the two captors is obvious - one wants him alive, one wants him dead.

the house film review

A house appears before them like a mirage. Upon entering they find it seemingly abandoned mid-meal; "The food is still hot!" exclaims the younger of the two, questioningly.

The older and wiser Lieutenant Kreiner (Mats Reinhardt - commanding) feels that perhaps the Norwegian people who clearly owned the house before had scarpered when they saw Nazis were approaching; after all, they were rebelling by flying the Norwegian flag.

They lay the ailing POW on a table in the sitting room, both aware that gangrene has set in to his legs. Things are not looking good for the trio to get much further in the snow under these circumstances and so they settle in for the night.

As their prisoner sleeps, they have a get to know you drink, discussing such heady topics as war and women. The younger man, Fleiss (Freerik von Luttichau) is scolded by the older for frowning on his girlfriend's dildo possession. "Would you rather she finds another man?" he smartly asks.

the house film review

There are strange hieroglyphic-type symbols written on several surfaces in the house that we are shown in several close-ups with ominous music to underscore the portent. To me it just looks like a P and a Y. A diary found in an upstairs room and marked by the same symbols seems to contain entries from several different parties who’ve written over the years.

As Fleiss nods off on his watch while sitting next to the gangrenous prisoner, there’s a breach in the home security, and the incapacitated Norwegian watches ‘something’ approach in the film's most effectively creepy sequence.

As hallucinations, regrets, memories, fantasies and nightmares seem to come to life; ranks, enemies, victors, and prisoners - all those labels fail to make sense any more, and the battle for survival becomes paramount.

Written and directed by Reinert Kiil (previously of Christmas Blood), The House does a good line in creep here, favouring a foreground/background approach to the unfolding scares, the mood heavy with dread.

the house film review

There is some nice natural dialogue in the quieter scenes and it did keep me intrigued. I didn’t foresee the twist and when it came it certainly felt earned.

The period details were as well studied and authentic-looking as the jump scares effective, and I'll admit I was creeped out several times.

I appreciate how the plot was drip-fed throughout the film and really never fully explained until the concluding few shots, with even the very last shot managing to give a final piece of information away.

The coda slowly revealed throughout the end credits is a small extra treat for the audience.

A film as atmospheric and chilling as its own location, this is one I would watch again.

The House is on DVD/VOD March 5th.

2019 movie reviews