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Review: Reinert Kiil’s “The House” (Huset)

He we are again with another horror feature from German film-maker Reinert Kiil. Not that that’s a bad thing. Kiil previously delivered genre fans with holiday slasher flick Christmas Blood, which ended up on my year’s best list for 2018; and was the sole reason I was keen to review The House (also known as Huset). Although it seems Kiil has a thing for snow-covered landscapes, he’s traded Santa hats for SS rifles in the new movie releasing on DVD, iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play and VuDu courtesy of Artsploitation Films on March 5th 2019. A collaboration between Another World Entertainment, Monomenn, Film Camp and Sanctum Films, The House sees a small troop of World War II Nazis escorting a prisoner of war through the wilderness, only to be clobbered by bad weather. They take refuge inside a seemingly abandoned house in the middle of nowhere and try to get some rest…unaware of the evil inside and outside the cottage. A sinister and deadly force haunts the property, and it’s about to put the soldiers through a Hell far worse than war. Written, directed and produced by Reinert Kiil, The House stars Frederik von Luttichau, Mats Reinhardt, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, Evy Kasseth Rosten, Sigmund Saeverud, Anita Ihler, Ingvild Flikkerud, Heidi Odegaard Mikkelsen and Espen Edvartsen.

Now, I’m not a big fan of Nazis. I don’t think anyone is, really. So The House isn’t the type of film where you’re going to feel a lot of empathy for the lead characters. It’s more of a, “I’m happy this is happening to you. Let’s see what other gnarly shit will plague you,” type of movie. Of course, there are two innocent characters caught in the crossfire. I am happy, however, that the antagonistic culprits weren’t zombies because the Nazi zombie subgenre of horror as been beaten to death in the independent world. Backtracking a little bit, I don’t think the supernatural entity (entities?) are capable of being called villains, either, because their main target is a group of Nazis. Let’s all take a shot every time I say Nazi in this paragraph. Despite my bias towards the group, The House offers a poignant theme and one that’s slightly based in reality. Most of the main characters are soldiers in this film. Still, they’re affected, scared and terrorized by something evil and you get to see their humanity, or the realization that death is on the horizon. It goes to show – no matter how big you are or strong you are or how many guns you may have, on the inside everyone is afraid to die; and figments from beyond are comprehension are enough to shatter the psyches of even the best warrior.

The House sees cinematography by John-Erling H. Fredriksen and editing by Iris Jenssen Nylaendet & Silje Rekk. Writer, director and producer Reinert Kiil also serves as production designer, and he’s the key player that helped this movie look so successful. I already knew he was a great film-maker thanks to Christmas Blood, but he put a lot of extra effort into The House. And it shows. Tackling a film in a different decade is a difficult task because it needs a certain level of authenticity. The 1930’s and 1940’s were important decades in world history for a variety of reasons, not just the sad ones. I’m glad that The House feels like it should be in that time period, and not like a film trying to look like something else. I wasn’t a fan of the subtitles in this case, though. With Christmas Blood, Kiil got to the goods pretty early on; where-as The House takes a while to get to the suspense and horror. Having to read what’s going on and not feel what’s going on somewhat subtracts from the overall experience that was painted here. Although the supernatural elements and bone chilling horror take center stage later on, I can see some people passing on this title because of the wait with build-up. That’s why I’d mostly recommend The House to film buffs who can appreciate the art of another time period and horror fans who can sit back and wait for their gratification.

The House was good, but it’s not my favorite title from Reinert Kiil and Artsploitation Films. Final Score: 6.25 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)