Saturday, July 19, 2014

Film Review: The Seasoning House (2012)

The Seasoning House (Review)
United Kingdom/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a bleak and effective thriller all-around."

Angel (Rosie Day), a young deaf and mute girl, is forced to prepare young girls who are kidnapped and forced into prostitution in a bleak brothel.

The Seasoning House follows Angel. The first half of the story jumps from past to present often to tell us Angel's background, and to show us how the brothel operates. It was interesting, but I felt some of the artistic choices slowed the film down more than it should have. The second half of the film focuses on Amy as she takes revenge and attempts to escape the brothel. I had mixed feeling about the ending -- some aspects are too contrived and familiar, while others are great.

So, I liked the story in The Seasoning House -- it's bleak, effective, and interesting. However, there are many scenes were everything seemed to move slow -- it feels like everything is moving in slow-motion for no particular reason. The film would've been a slow-burn anyway, but this stylistic choice cuts into the flow. There were a few times during these scenes were I drifted momentarily.

The Seasoning House becomes more of a traditional thriller during the second half of the film. It becomes very violent and very bloody. In fact, I was actually surprised at the level of violence this film reaches; at least one scene had me cringe. If the first half loses you, this second half will shake you up. The vicious violence is accompanied by great suspense and tension, too.

The acting isn't very demanding for most of the cast. Rosie Day, who doesn't speak, does well through facial expressions, though; really, most of her performance is squeaking like a stereotypical Japanese girl. (I'm very okay with that. *wink, wink*) The cinematography is a little cluttered, but the dark and bleak atmosphere is well developed. The music is good, too. Director Paul Hyett, in his debut film, does well in building up the film and delivering a bloody and suspenseful climax; there are some glaring pacing issues during the first half, though, and some uneventful areas in the plot.

Overall, The Seasoning House is a very good thriller. Despite my issues with the first half of the film, I think this is a bleak and effective thriller all-around. The style is too ambitious and comes off as unnecessary, but the film redeems itself during the latter half. Definitely worth watching for fans of bloody revenge-thrillers.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, drug use, sex and nudity.

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