I’m going to be honest here, as I am with all of my movie reviews.
I love a lot of horror movies, I love monsters and weird stuff, crazy inexplicable violence on screen.
But the whole “torture porn” sub-genre has never done much for me. The original Saw was pretty good, but I honestly lost interest after the first few sequels, and Hostel never did rub me the right way, as much as I consider myself to be a fan of Eli Roth. (Can’t wait for The Green Inferno!)
Trying to think of examples of the genre I liked, I’m coming up with a short list. The first Wolf Creek. Martyrs, but that film re-invented the whole idea of “torture porn”. I don’t know, I am sure there have been a few more that I enjoyed but they never stand out as my favorites.
With that said, the major selling point of the new film In The House Of Flies, to me, was the casting of legend Henry Rollins as “the voice of the killer”. I am a life long fan of Rollins, through his music, books and spoken word performances. I love the incredibly ironic on-screen roles that he chooses, for example the cop in The Chase or the Nazi skinhead in Sons Of Anarchy. I especially love that he isn’t afraid to play in the horror genre, giving us that awesome Rambo-esque performance in Wrong Turn 2, the fornicating motivational speaker-turned-battering ram in Feast, and even in a starring role (I think he is a vampire, but still not a lot of news about this one) in the upcoming horror film He Never Died.
So yeah, the flick more than lives up to this premise, and gives some good chuckles and serious gross-outs along the way, but in the end it is just another tedious torture flick.
Honestly, without the inclusion of Rollins’ horrifying phone calls as he playfully puts the screws to our beleaguered and bland lead couple, I probably would have just skipped it.
The predicament that Steve and Heather find themselves in is unique and compelling at first, as they inexplicably wake up trapped in a random basement, with only a few mysterious locked suitcases and an old rotary phone. It is incredibly claustrophobic and uncomfortable as they become accustomed to their surroundings, only to repeatedly be menaced by Rollins on the phone making ridiculous demands in exchange for the combinations to the suitcases. As Henry’s demands become more sadistic and the contents of the cases become increasingly stranger, the main characters obviously and unfortunately become more fatigued and uninteresting. To be fair, if you were trapped in a basement for three weeks playing the mindfuck games of a sadistic stranger, you would probably become a lot less active and interesting. So it is realistic, I guess, but it just isn’t a whole lot of fun to watch two defeated, deflated characters wish that they could just die already. It makes you long for it to just be over, as well.
So, in that sense, I think the film is successful. By the end of it you feel like you have slogged through the ordeal with them, for better and worse.
It is worth a watch for any Rollins fan to hear him say lines like “Bad girls don’t get water“.
One last quick note. I find it really odd that even though the title of the film is obviously inspired by the Deftones song [Change] In The House Of FLies, nowhere in the film does the song appear, although during some tense basement scenes, you can hear some tones reminiscent of the tune. I for sure thought it would play over the closing credits. Maybe the rights cost too much or something, but the songs that bookend the film felt jarringly inappropriate, and feel like the film as a whole would have benefited from actually using the titular song.
Grade : C