Ever since his 1997 Sundance smash Within the Firm of Males, Neil LaBute has discovered a mess of methods to precise man’s anxious concern of the females in our species. This phobia reached an apotheosis of types with the risible The Wicker Man in 2006, which allowed Nicolas Cage to soar to new heights of web meme-dom as a sheriff cornered by a cabal of neo-pagan girls. Now LaBute is again within the saddle with Saban Films‘ Home of Darkness, an initially participating however ultimately eye-rolling spectacle showcasing his distinctive model of sexual nervousness.
Justin Lengthy stars as a company jerk trying to hook up with a mysterious blonde (Kate Bosworth) whom he meets at an area bar. Driving her residence, he’s staggered to find that she lives in an previous fortress off the grid. Curious, drunk, and unusually aroused, he leads her (or does she lead him?) into the home and makes an attempt a careless seduction. He’s continuously thwarted by a succession of surprises, together with the looks of a youthful, but equally comely sister (Gia Crovatin). That the sisters are named Mina and Lucy ought to instantly tip off the attentive viewer as to what’s actually occurring.
LaBute, having spent the final a number of years scribing a TV sequence concerning the descendent of Abraham Van Helsing, presumably nonetheless must get Bram Stoker out of his system. The gradual, suspenseful first half and gory climax are nasty and daring in a means that community tv isn’t allowed to be. A playwright at the start, LaBute appears to relish the chance to sharpen his verbal knives, and the restricted setting and Mamet-like cadence of the dialogue are for essentially the most half deftly dealt with. Sadly, Darkness seems to be one of these torture porn revenge motion pictures during which a creep will get his violent comeuppance for being a creep, and the brokers of vengeance are simply as ignoble as their sufferer.
Lengthy, who has typically discovered himself the hapless sufferer in gross-out horror movies (Jeepers Creepers, Drag Me to Hell, Tusk, and many others.) provides a cagey, rib-tickling efficiency as a person so determined to attain he’s prepared to endure the interminable foreplay of his presumably undead hosts. Missing all scruples, he’s a stand-in for weak males in every single place. Bosworth holds her personal as a personality who should exude attraction each historical and up to date. Their bizarre chemistry is real; she and Lengthy apparently turned a pair shortly after filming wrapped. A 3rd sister (Lucy Walters) materializes on the finish, too late to actually turn out to be a personality.
What pleasures Home of Darkness offers in the best way of affected person, slow-burn suspense it lacks in thematic richness and shock. Viewers forbearing sufficient to attend for the stunning ending would possibly shrug their shoulders as if to say, “That’s it?” Male-female relations have sufficient obstacles as of late; filmmakers who select to muddy the waters—on this case by siphoning names and tropes from a Nineteenth-century novel—are doing us no favors. His bloodlust now glad, LaBute can now return to individuals hating one another with out the sheen of supernatural metaphor. ♦
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