Thursday, May 8, 2014

Film Review: House of Good and Evil (2013)

House of Good and Evil (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...difficult to categorize due to it failing at almost everything..."

After an unfortunate miscarriage, Maggie (Rachel Marie Lewis) and Chris Conley (Christian Oliver) ditch the city for large, isolated home in the woods...

The House of Good and Evil basically follows the couple as they move into their new home. Chris is an abusive alcoholic, while Maggie is submissive and likely bipolar. The first half of the film is kinda like a haunted house movie -- when I say kinda, I mean barely. The floors creak, stains appear and disappear, a nonexistent phone rings and so on. In other words, nothing happens. Now the second half... nothing really happens, either. In fact, it plays like more of the same, except now Maggie seems to be losing her mind a bit more. The ending features the most used and predictable twist imaginable -- it has no impact, and considering the rest of the film was a drag to get through, it felt like a slap to the face.

The House of Good and Evil is... well, maybe it's best to tell you what it's not. It's not a horror film because there is no horror -- no suspense, no atmosphere, not even a few jump-scares. It's not an effective psychological film because all of its psychological elements are half-baked. And, it's most definitely not a thriller because it has zero thrills -- not a shred of adrenaline. There are scenes where the music gets really loud and becomes suspenseful, but nothing happens; it more than often leaves you thinking "was that supposed to be scary or creepy, or what?" It offers very little from any genre. Arguably, it may be considered a drama, but it's still not very effective. It's a film about a house without a home (genre).

The story starts off interesting and even promising, but then you meet the characters. House of Good and Evil? More live Bipolar: The Movie. (Am I right?) The characters are lovie-dovie one second, then they're the complete opposite a second later; this happens every single time the couple share the screen. And, if the characters weren't detrimental enough for the experience, don't forget, the story is almost nonexistent. It's uneventful and boring with nothing happening. It's dreadfully slow paced and lacks the burn to make it tolerable. Oh, and if that's not enough, and it's almost two hours long! It has so much fat and filler, this is a story that could've been told more efficiently in less than an hour.

Fortunately, the roles are never too demanding. Although their characters may be annoying, Rachel Marie Lewis and Christian Oliver are good. I liked the cinematography, I thought the film looked great, especially considering the micro-budget. The music was suspenseful, but somehow failed at creating suspense. Director David Mun must have a distorted vision; the story is nonexistent and this film is difficult to categorize due to it failing at almost everything; I can't tell if he was trying to make a horror film or a statement on spousal abuse -- either way, he completely missed his mark.

Overall, avoid House of Good and Evil. Not only has it been done numerous of times before, but it has been much, much better. It offers very little entertainment value, noting happens in the story, and the ending makes the story so much worse -- especially for those that had to fight to stay awake for the resolution.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood. (I think there might've been a nip-slip during a bathing scene, but that might've been me trying to spruce up the film.)

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