This movie is the directorial debut of Paul Hyett, who I had never heard of, but is apparently known for his career in special effects and makeup work. Knowing this, I was worried this movie would have a weak plot with a primary focus on gore and special effects. Luckily, this is not the case. This movie IS full of gore and violence but it is balanced perfectly with an interesting plot and exceptional acting.
This film takes place in the Balkans, 1996, where young girls are kidnapped from their homes and forced into a prostitution brothel. This is the worst kind of prostitution ring imaginable- dirty, grimy, and drug infested. Whatever life these girls knew is gone. There is no life outside these walls. One kidnapped girl, called Angel, is deaf and mute with a huge birthmark across her face. Because of her handicap (which in this circumstance is a blessing), Angel is in charge of getting the girls ready for clients and cleaning up afterwards. She intravenously drugs these girls to calm them down so the clients have full control of them. And when they are knocked out, she smears makeup on them and heads to the next room to do the same to the next girl.
As expected with a mute main character, there is not a lot of dialogue in this film. But this does not deter from the bold, daring, and physically demanding role of actress, Rosie Day. It seems that she has been cast in a bunch of TV series in the past, but this is her first starring role in a feature film. I haven’t seen her in anything, but this should put her on the map as a more serious artist. Her name in the film, Angel, does her justice.
The first half of the film depicts the ferocious cruelty that is witnessed by Angel. She crawls through the rafters all through the house when she is not being forced to drug and clean up blood and other disgusting matter. The rough rape scenes are horrendous. At one point, Angel’s friend’s pelvis is broken in a most unsavory scene of torment. And in another part, our tiny heroine tries saving her friend’s life by stabbing a behemoth of a man almost 50 times. It is one of the more gorier and bloody sequences I have seen to date. These girls are treated like cattle. The violence in this movie is a dizzying display of torture and at times, almost impossible to watch.
The second half of the film follows Angel as she attempts to escape and seek revenge. I love movies with a good revenge come-back. This movie reminds me so much of I Spit on Your Grave 2– being the same premise of kidnapping and rape in a foreign country. I Spit on Your Grave 2 is definitely harder to watch as far as the torture (surprising, I know), but The Seasoning House is a better made film with far superior acting. It is different from most torture-porn subgenre films due to its methodic and melodic pace (not to be confused with a slow pace). It is raw and beautifully shot. While I Spit on Your Grave 2 is basically just a gory bloodbath, The Seasoning House is actually good storytelling and worthy of being called a good horror/revenge film.
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