out of Five
Running time: 89
More depressing than entertaining, The Seasoning House is a soulless horror thriller that fails to captivate thanks to a poor script and some terribly unconvincing performances from certain cast members.
What’s it all about?
The Seasoning House marks the first directorial project of British make-up effects whiz Paul Hyett and stars Rosie Day as Angel, an orphaned, deaf and mute girl who’s kidnapped and sent to live in The Seasoning House, where young girls are prostituted to the military. When Angel hangs about after her procurer Viktor (Kevin Howarth) violently slaughters one of the prostitutes in front of everyone, Viktor gives her the ‘exclusive’ job of running the house, making the girls look pretty and supplying them with their daily drug fix. However, unbeknownst to her master, Angel’s petite frame allows her to move between the walls and crawlspaces of the house and she is carefully planning her escape. When her closest friend is brutally murdered, Angel sees it as her cue to strike back and get revenge.
Thanks to her character’s condition, Rosie Day is left without any lines and is therefore a little wasted, which is an incredible shame as she’s generally quite satisfying in her scenes and certainly shows up her co-stars, Kevin Howarth and Sean Pertwee. As two British actors, they adopt Balkan accents, which are so stiff and terribly unconvincing it’s a little cringe-worthy to watch. Having said that, the script (co-written by Hyett with Conal Palmer and Adrian Rigelsford and based on an original story by Helen Solomon) certainly doesn’t do the actors any favours and the dialogue is so uninspiring and wooden, it’s a pity that all the characters aren’t mute.
The characters (particularly the men) are completely one-dimensional and the script fails to provide enough information about Angel’s history and personality to make you really bothered about her fate. As a result, The Seasoning House is incredibly testing to watch and by the time the dragged-out final scenes arrive, it feels like it’s never going to end. Some of the tracking shots look pretty cool and the make-up is expectedly impressive, but apart from that, The Seasoning House is bereft of any notable qualities.
Thanks to a weak direction and some unforgivably bad performances, The Seasoning House is an unrewarding horror and perhaps a sign that Paul Hyett should stick to his day job. Try your best to avoid it.
The Seasoning House (18)