The Seasoning House: a Blu-ray review, a movie starring Rosie Day, Paul Howarth, Sean Pertwee, Adrian Bouchet, Anna Walton, Jemma Powell, and Dominique Provost-Chalkley, and produced by Michael Riley, and directed by Paul Hyett.
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Distributor: Well Go USA
Angel, a deaf-mute servant at a Balkans brothel specializing in young girls, was originally meant to be a prostitute. Now she spends her days tending to the young girls damned to the hell within its walls. She washes them and tends to their physical wounds after their regularly rough sessions with the customers. For their psychic wounds, she administers heroin and other drugs to take away their pain, at least temporarily. On the day Angel witnesses her best (and only) friend’s brutal rape and murder at the hands of the soldiers that killed her family she begins to plot her gruesome revenge.
Run Time: 98 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Language: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM 2.0
The video for The Seasoning House is dark and gritty just like the subject matter. Virtually all scenes take place in the rooms dimly lit Balkans brothel and within its walls and crawl spaces. The setting reeks of evil and decay, which is more than adequately displayed by the set pieces and wardrobing. The takes are given a sleazy brownish haze befitting the horrors that occur within the house of horrors. It is sometimes difficult to make out detail, however given the brutality of the rape scenes and their aftermath, this is perhaps a blessing. Director Paul Hyett hails from a background as an accomplished prosthetics and visual effects master. His experience is expertly displayed by one scene in particular involving a long knife to the face of an attacker.
There is quite a bit of speed ramping during some chase scenes which serves to heighten the urgency. It was difficult to assess banding and artifacts due to the apparent processing of the film to produce artificial aging and overall grime.
The Blu-ray disc has two separate audio choices: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and LPCM 2.0, both in English. The DTS-HD surround sound track is lossless and displays the rising and swirling musical soundtrack competently; the musical score is so important given the main character, Angel is deaf and mute. The music, along with her facial expressions and body language, serves to convey her emotions in the absence of speech. Dialogue can be slightly garbled in some places while in others, the slightest sounds cut through the din with ease.
Blu-ray Bonus Content
Making Of (HD) behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with director, cast, and crew, and filming of the chase scenes throughout the brothel.
The Seasoning House is a dark and depressing revenge film dealing with subject matter that makes even the most hardened movie-goer squirm. Set in 1996 post-war Balkans, director Hyett seeks to display not only the brutality of war, but of gender relations. The overarching question here is whether the horrors of the civil conflict corrupted the male soldiers to be subhuman or whether sadists were attracted by the opportunity to commit atrocities with impunity. In a world gone bad pitting neighbor against neighbor, the men who visit Viktor’s (Kevn Howarth) brothel are looking to release their frustrations on victims who cannot retaliate. The girls of The Seasoning House are kidnapped, orphans, unwanted and unloved, sold into slavery in the very bowels of hell. They suffer the pain of loss—of their homes, their families, their innocence, and way of live—and continue to lose their dignity, self-will, and often their lives.
Angel (Rosie Day) is an appropriately named caretaker. She bathes and feeds them and soothes their bruises like a house mother even though she is their peer in age and might have suffered their same fate if it were not for an unfortunate birthmark on her face and Viktor taking a strange liking to her. She shows them a little kindness in a world where all kindness and compassion seems lost. She tends to them and shoots them up with drugs to allow their spirits to escape the perpetual abuse, if only momentarily.
The death of her only friend (outside of a mouse who also lives in the walls) serves as the catalyst for the release of all the rage and sadness Angel has absorbed spying on the girls and the customers. Angel becomes an avenging angel, deftly plotting and executing her attacks on the sadistic soldiers who killed her family as she watched, and executing her escape and movement through the walls of the hell house.
Despite his background as an FX makeup artist, Hyett had no intentions of making a pretty film. The Seasoning House is ugly, messy, and far more terrifying than any ghosts, aliens, or creatures from the deep. The evil humans inflict on their own kind outstrips any damage done by outside forces. The Seasoning House is gratuitous, uncomfortable, and horrifying on an unexpected level. Both Rosie Day and Paul Hyett turn in respectable debut work on in a film that is sure to haunt viewers long after the last splatter hits the wall.
My Rating 8/10