Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Happy House: Movie Review


A horror-comedy short on thrills and laughs but has interesting character interactions.
The Happy House is a remote Bed & Breakfast specializing in odd rules to make your stay as uncomfortable as possible. It somehow got good reviews (even though the movie itself has gotten bad reviews) and our New York Couple are off for a weekend to repair their relationship. Wendy doesn’t want to go; Joe thinks it will be for the best. And as an audience, we have no clue what it’s going to be like. Marketed as a horror-comedy, but presented with a really understated style, it is set up to be an odd mix. 2013

Directed by: D.W. Young

Screenplay by: D.W. Young

Starring: Khan Baykal and Aya Cash

It starts out just plain weird. With an old-fashioned batty housewife, Hildie, ordering the couple around and with her strange grown son, Skip, who may or may not kill people, it doesn’t seem like the most inviting movie to watch. There's very little to keep the audience invested but just the sense that there will be a plot forming eventually.

And sure enough, there is a plot. With Joe and Wendy stuck there, a Swedish lepidopterist who likes staying there, and then the arrival of Hildie’s significantly more normal sister, Linda, we now have a full house of people and action that can unfold entirely within the house and amongst the conversation of the people.

A deputy arrives at the door informing them that a serial killer is on the loose and they should not leave the house. This forces the action into one location and the dialogue drives the characters forward. The characters also become more interesting interacting with one another since we've been told that they're safer in the house than outside, and they're going to need to work together or else they might kill each other before the serial killer gets to them.

Each character has their distinct personality and their own ideas on what they should to keep themselves safe. They make a number of mistakes, but that’s what makes it silly and keeps it on the comedy side of horror. However it probably doesn't appeal to fans of that genre since the comedy is peculiar and the horror aspect isn't all that engaging. It's the character drama aspect that gives the film its unique and intriguing style, it's also the character interactions that that provide the conflicts and keep the film interesting.

I think I might be in the minority in wanting more character drama, but that’s why I liked “The Happy House” which is short on thrills and laughs. It’s an interesting premise with some strange elements but there’s enough intrigue to the characters to keep some viewers interested.