Parents' Guide to

The House That Jack Built

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Extreme violence, nudity, language in serial killer story.

Movie R 2018 152 minutes
The House That Jack Built Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 18+

Extremely Violent And Disturbing Pitch Black Comedy with Social Commentary

this is ABSOLUTELY not for any kids like NO KIDS. By following the MPAA rating system alone it being Rated R and unrated NC-17 in some releases, this is not for anybody under at least 17, this is a pitch black comedy/horror/thriller social commentary and is packed full of super ironic moments and extremely disturbing scenes of child murder, mutilation, misogyny, nudity, etc. This movie is an endurance test but to those who open themselves to these limits, will experience a dark possible masterpiece.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 15+

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (11):

Is this relentlessly vicious film a satire on humans' capacity for evil, an examination of psychopathy, or a senseless dive into depravity? Probably all of the above. Celebrated auteur Lars von Trier's cinematic skill can't be denied. Pretty much every film he makes is masterfully executed: His scripts, cinematography, casting, editing, and use of music, as well as the performances he elicits are usually very good. Sometimes great. But his fascinations can lead to places most people wouldn't care to go. Perhaps some of that is artistic courage. Perhaps some is morbid obsession. Whatever the engine, the ride is likely more enjoyable for the driver than the passengers. Von Trier's Nymphomaniac Vol. I & II, for instance, were hard-core sex at its most joyless.

What audience The House That Jack Built might have beyond an extraordinarily narrow, bloodthirsty niche is hard to say. It's a long (152-minute) parade of savagery. And that's the theatrical version; there's also a director's cut, for those who just can't get enough of graphic, close-up murders. If nothing else, von Trier seems to be enjoying himself -- though it's somewhat upsetting to think about what it means that he could make such a barbaric film that seems almost mischievous. The director even refers to himself in Jack, throwing in clips from his previous films as evidence of human malevolence. He also seems to revel in Jack's sadism, especially toward women. It's probably significant that, though Jack also kills men, it's the women we see tortured and brutalized on-screen. Jack and Verge ramble on about Jack's detachment and ambitions, offering descriptions of his behavior that will ring a bell with readers of Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, but they never really delve into him as a person with an origin story. The film is very well made, with solid performances and occasional humor (as when Jack incompetently talks his way into a future victim's house), but it's likely to make most viewers sorry they entered the theater.

Movie Details

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