Sunday, February 24, 2019

The House (2016) by Reinert Kiil


Director: Reinert Kiil
Year: 2016
Country: Norway
Alternate Title: Huset
Genre: Haunted House

Plot:
During the middle of WWII, a squad of Nazi soldiers attempting to get out of the freezing forest around them seek solace in a seemingly abandoned house, but the longer they stay at the house the more the squad comes to believe the house is haunted and must try to get away from the house alive.

Review:

Overall, this one has plenty to like about it. One of it's most pressing attributes is the absolutely stellar design and layout of the house which makes the creepy goings-on all the better. The creepy house in the middle of nowhere, still completely furnished furnished with the amenities of the time-period in full working order despite it's abandoned appearance is a perfectly enjoyable setup here that is paid off in grand fashion. This comes from the series of supernatural antics throughout here, from the usual suspects of seeing ghostly figures walk around in the background to the doors slamming shut or suddenly being thrust into darkness which manage to still give this one a wholly enjoyable atmosphere throughout here.

As well, the fact that this one tends to bring about the religious undertones also manages to provide this with plenty of strong atmosphere and thrills. The fact that there's plenty of strong religious paraphernalia strewn around the house, with the prominent crosses and rosary beads alongside all the mass candles and Bibles manages to give this far more of a dark and chilling setting. With plenty of the action here based around the concept of religious dread and guilt, especially due to the concept here of them being Nazis and are tormented by the creatures from the past concentration camps, features rather nicely in this one.


It all comes together in the finale where this one really brings out its best work. There's some rather intriguing work to be done here with the backstory about what actually happened previously in the house, as the flashbacks to the exorcism attempt on the young girl that gets spelled out in several encounters to get the full story,fully provides this with a justifiable backstory that accounts for so much of the events that follow. Introducing people coming back to life that should be dead, others stuck in unexplained time-loops or even altered histories for the different characters, this creates some rather chilling scenes and concepts here that really give this a lot to like which hold this one up overall.

That said, there are a few problems with this one. The biggest issue here is the absolutely grinding slow-paced tempo throughout here, which is quite surprising considering it's overall length isn't that long. That should mean the film zips by rather quickly, but rather this one tends to go for a more sedate rhythm that focuses on each of the different soldiers reacting to the situation around them and getting more unnerved the longer they're there. This goes hand-in-hand with the sedate and low-key yet still chilling antics throughout the house that don't tend to focus on the reasoning for the haunting as that gets introduced quite late into the film due to this setup. As well, some of the effects belie their low-budget origins and seem somewhat hokey but it's not nearly enough to lower this completely.


Overview: *** 1/2/5
Despite a few minor problems with a pace and tempo that isn't the most energetic, there's more than enough highly enjoyable elements overall to make for a rather enjoyable effort. Definitely recommended to those who prefer this type of slow-burn supernatural-tinged genre effort or have an interest in the subject matter, while those somewhat put off by the style of effort here should seek mild caution.

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