Directed by Neil LaBute
Hosted by Neil LaBute, director and writer, Gia Crovatin, actor, Tim Harms, producer & Daryl Freimark, producer.
Santa Barbara Film Festival 2022
Daryl Freimark, Tim Harms, Shaun Sanghani
Kate Bosworth, Gia Crovatin, Justin Long, Lucy Walters
Dark House Films, Inc.
Neil Labute, once considered America’s most controversial filmmaker, is back in familiar territory with his latest, HOUSE OF DARKNESS. Hap (Justin Long) can’t believe his luck after meeting a beautiful woman (Kate Bosworth) who invites him back to her place, a castle-like mansion in the middle of nowhere. As they arrive under a cloak of darkness, they realize the power is out. Their playful banter continues with more drinks, a cozy fire, and rising sexual tensions. Their superficial discussion becomes increasingly strained with the uncertainties of the space. Hap becomes paranoid that someone else is in the house, and the homeowner pushes him on his habit of “fibbing.” Transfixed by her beauty and unable to give up an opportunity for sex, Hap ignores his better instincts and finds himself drawn into a dark, twisted fairy tale.
All the hallmarks of a great Labute film are here—duplicitous dialogue, repugnant characters, and pitch-black humour. While working on the tried and true adage that power corrupts, Labute never satisfies himself with easy binaries between oppressor and oppressed. The film’s extended set-up plays on assumptions about power dynamics before throwing in a few wrenches, namely how wealth and beauty operate within structures of power. Labute creates an old-school battle-of-the-sexes film that treads the line between farce and horror as it captures the strained social conditions of contemporary life. With two incredible lead performances and edge of your seat suspense, the slow turn of the screw of Labute’s horror will leave you queasy and disturbed. – Justine Smith
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