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HOUSE OF DARKNESS (2022, USA) – 6.5/10

Neil LaBute, due to the disastrous remake of the iconic “The Wicker Man” with Nicolas Cage at the peak of his breakthrough, is still considered the author of one of the worst films of all time. The remake of the legendary British folk horror was indeed pure horror, but it would be unfair to say that LaBute didn’t have its bright moments. Admittedly, it was quite a long time ago, when he was just making his way in the second half of the nineties and the beginning of the 2000s, when he was already being called a misanthrope and a misogynist, which he largely earned himself with films such as the iconic “In the Company of Men” and later “Your Friends and Neighbours” and “The Shape of Things”.

Really, everything he made after “The Wicker Man” is not worth mentioning at all, and now he appears almost out of nowhere with this minimalist dark humor thriller that will only start to turn into a horror horror towards the end. Although a little earlier, it is possible to sense how it could unfold. With “House of Darkness” LaBute seems to have decided to poke fun at himself and the accusations that he is a misanthrope and misogynist and to satirize the status that accompanies him, and the film was shot exclusively in one location with only a few characters. Hap (Justin Long) and Mina Murray (Kate Bosworth as a girl whose first and last name were not chosen by chance) met in a bar and he decided to be a gentleman and take her home.

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It’s not hard to guess what a typical player like Hap is hoping for, and the first surprise he’ll encounter will be the fact that Mina lives in a real castle outside of town. It’s a castle that would be the envy of even British aristocrats, and Hap is even more convinced that his ax fell on the honey, because apart from being able to get laid with an attractive and interesting young lady, it seems that she could also be rich because how the hell would she live in such a castle. And it seems that Mina is even more mysterious than Hap initially assumed, and the standard games and games of seduction in such situations will begin to develop significantly differently from what this young man had hoped for.

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It will turn out to be a significantly different type of game than the one he hoped for, and LaBute has many surprises in store for him. It seemed like maybe at one point “House of Darkness” could go the way of another recent girl power revenge thriller “Promising Young Woman”, and even though the supposed good guy will find himself in an unexpected situation, it was more of an inversion of sorts. of LaBute’s “In the Company of Men” mentioned earlier. In the end, this was a very interesting film, which stands out for its good dialogues in which LaBute shows that he captures the spirit of the times extremely well, and although it is obvious from the beginning how it could all end, LaBute made a provocative and atmospheric black humor thriller that holds the attention from beginning to end. the end.

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