Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Seasoning House (2012)

Director – Paul Hyett
Writers – Paul Hyett, Conal Palmer, Adrian Rigelsford
Production Company – Sterling Pictures, Templeheart Films, Filmgate Films 
Stars – Rosie Day, Kevin Howarth, Sean Pertwee

I find out so much through IMDB these days.  I was watching a new film (that I liked by the way) called “The Seasoning House”, directed by Paul Hyett.  So after watching any movie these days I do my 15 minutes of work on IMDB to see what that directors done in the past.  I’m almost always surprised to see just how small of a world this movie making business is…and I’ll talk about that later.

Ok so first things first, The Seasoning House is pretty darn good.  Pretty good probably doesn’t make you want to run out and devour the movie this instant – and it shouldn’t.  I just want to let it be known that despite it not being perfect, it’s pretty good.

Pretty Darn Good, Pretty Darn Good, Pretty Darn Good - Sorry, I’m a goof.

Its 1996, in the Balkans – young girls kidnapped from their families are being prostituted out to the military, all whilst being kept in an old decomposing house.  During the film you closely follow Angel, a deaf and mute, girl who’s been kidnapped but reserved to take care of the girls versus being a prostitute herself.

One of the opening scenes in The Seasoning House is a brutal one.  You’ll be meeting the next influx of young girls into the house, and watch as Victor (brothel owner) makes sure the girls know who’s in charge.  The special effects and make-up in this scene are just great.  The make-up throughout the film is top-notch in my opinion.  The thing that isn’t top-notch from the get-go, Viktor.  I was highly disappointed in this character. I hated his lines, seemed so dorky.  He also looked so clean and polished compared to the others.

Viktor takes Angel under his wing. Angel is played by Rosie Day who manages to do a pretty good job despite her characters lack of speech.  Viktor notices straight away that she’s different.  Angel is deaf and has a large birthmark on her cheek, something that might hurt her in the “real” world but works to her benefit in this horrible situation.  I quite liked this, as it also gives Angel an out when she doesn’t respond to the cries and pleading of the other girls being held captive.  You might normally ask why a person wouldn’t help another who’s being tortured, but Angel can’t even hear their pleas…though she doesn’t make a lot of eye contact with them either, as I’m sure she can read lips in some manner.

So beings that Angel is sort of damaged goods, she’s left to pretty the girls up (though that’s laughable) and pump them full of heroin.  I think one thing this movie could have benefited from was cleaning the damn girls up, and make the house a little nicer.  Let’s face it that any dude who visits this place is a total creeper.  But I still feel like some of these girls where so fucked up that they would put off even the most vile man, so while the dirtiness of it added greatly to the cinematography – in my head, the state of the girls would put-off anyone.  Ok, so that’s that.


Eventually Angel develops a friendship with another girl being kept at the house.  This girl can sign, and Angel is immediately smitten and wanting to help.  The girl plays all her cards right with Angel, it’s hard to tell whether there’s a true friendship there or if she’s simply trying to manipulate Angel – I guess it doesn’t matter.  She knows that becoming a friend to Angel could be the difference between life and death.

^^^^^^^^holy crap scary man

Two words – Ryan Oliva (Ivan).  Two words – Holy crap.  I won’t give away the whole scene but holy hell this man is quite honestly one of the scariest men I have ever seen in a movie.  Ivan’s a “patron” of the house. I can honestly say I would probably die from fear if I were in a room alone with this man. This scene had me holding my breath and sets off the second half of the story.  Here’s where my biggest gripe comes from.

Have you ever been watching a movie and the main character is escaping but by dumb luck they end up in the worst place possible, like say the killers house?  Yes, you have??  Me too, it was called Eden Lake and I hated it then.  This also happens in The Seasoning House, twice.  This was my absolute biggest gripe, it’s just way too convenient.   The reason I still rate this higher than Eden Lake is that at least the characters are not doing moronic things constantly just so you can keep the story going.

Sean Pertwee (Goran) also meets with a highly questionable end..or does he?  It’s one of those endings where you get to draw your own conclusions, and I’ll be honest I would have preferred something a little tighter.  This isn’t some crazy thought provoking change your view on the world type movie, I don’t think we need such a broad ending.  It seems like people are scared to end things these days, I’m all for a director having a beginning and an end.  I don’t always want to draw my own conclusions.

End Spoilers

Flashbacks - something I normally hate, but they're not overdone here. It's a little convenient that some characters from her past show up in her future, but hey - this is a movie and movies are stories!

The music really sets the perfect tone in The Seasoning House, done by Paul E Francis.  I noticed it straight away, I love anything that sets such a great mood and doesn’t sound like canned movie music.  It reminded me of works like you’ve heard in Eden Lake and The Descent (though no one can beat David Julyan IMOP).   The music is pretty darn good.

I think Paul Hyett made it to second base with this one, I enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what he has coming.  Paul has done make-up work on movies like The Descent, Eden Lake, The Children, and The Woman in Black.  I can see how some of these movies have rubbed off on him.  The Seasoning House, written and directed by Paul Hyett, is pretty darn good for a first time director.


  1. The Seasoning House seems to be the hot ticket among movie bloggers this week. I've seen it turn up on at least a couple of other blogs, as well. I noticed tonight that it was "Recommended" for me on Netflix.

    By the way, agreed that the "coincidence" in Eden Lake was a real eye-roller that totally derailed on otherwise fairly decent movie. The French/Romanian movie Them is a similar tale that worked better for me overall. Simple and suspenseful.

  2. I saw this on Netflx I was thinking about check it out. I heard it was brutal and the music was great so I definitely need to give it a go! :)