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Parents' Guide to

House of Darkness

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Language, gore in clever, low-budget relationship tale.

Movie R 2022 88 minutes
House of Darkness Movie: Poster

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Writer-director Neil LaBute returns to his low-budget indie roots with this sly, slippery study of men and women, although it loses some of its power due to familiar genre conventions. Like LaBute's incendiary cinematic debut In the Company of Men (1997), House of Darkness uses just a few cast members -- and minimal locations -- to tell its story. The focus is on the writing and the way in which power subtly, nervily flips back and forth between characters. Advances are made, confidently, and then rebuffed with sharp comments. The movie is at its best when Hap tries to be cool, keep the conversation going, be funny, be self-effacing, etc., and Mina seems to be one jump ahead of him, asking him quietly pointed questions and diverting his intentions.

LaBute deliberately evokes Bram Stoker with the names "Mina" and "Lucy," as well as with other elements, but this effort doesn't really seem necessary, other than providing a clever way to market the film. Additionally, the ending, while shocking and effective, makes everything that came before it less impactful. House of Darkness does, however, embrace its low budget. Both Long and Bosworth have become familiar faces in B movie land, yet they have an opportunity to turn in career-best work here. Long takes his most ridiculous scene, the boasting phone call, and somehow makes it work, while Bosworth plays with quiet and menace and seems to relish it. All in all, this is a welcome outing for LaBute, whose career wildly derailed after his infamous previous stab at horror, The Wicker Man.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 9, 2022
  • On DVD or streaming: September 13, 2022
  • Cast: Justin Long , Kate Bosworth , Gia Crovatin
  • Director: Neil LaBute
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Saban Films
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 88 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: some bloody violence/gore, sexual material, and language throughout
  • Last updated: January 19, 2023

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