Title: The Perfect House
Directed by: Kris Hulbert (‘First Times’) and Randy Kent (‘Life of Lemon’, TV’s ‘The John Kerwin Show’)
Starring: Monique Parent (TV’s ‘Tanya X’), John Philbin (‘Children of the Corn,’ ‘The Return of the Living Dead’) and Felissa Rose (‘Dahmer vs. Gacy’)
The horror genre has multiple successful sub-genres, whether it be Hitchcock-inspired suspense, ‘Saw’-inspired torture-porn or violent, psychological thrillers. The new horror anthology film ‘The Perfect House’ encompasses all three sub-genres with three diverse short stories. All three stories take place in the same house, particularly the basement, and aim to prove that people are sometimes driven to commit crimes by an external evil force.
‘The Perfect House’ follows newlyweds Mike and Marisol (played by Will Robertson and Andrea Vahl), who are given the tour of their dream house by a perky, sexual real estate agent (portrayed by Monique Parent). While the two are initially interested in buying the house, their perceptions of it quickly change once they view the basement. The two quickly feel a sense of unease in the house, which is revealed to be related to its foreboding, horrifying past.
The true horrors of the house are revealed in the three short tales. The short stories include ‘The Storm,’ a Hitchcock inspired tale of a family taking shelter in the basement from a violent storm. However, the storm isn’t the only thing threatening the family, as the abuse and resentment between them is quickly revealed. Next comes ‘Chic-ken,’ in which John Dosey (played by Jonathan Tiersten) kidnaps innocent people and locks them in the basement to torture and kill them. He keeps one female victim (portrayed by Holly Greene) alive to watch the torture. The last story, titled ‘Dinner Guest,’ follows a stranger (played by Dustin Stevens), who locks his next door neighbors in the basement and kills them one-by-one.
‘The Perfect House,’ which is set to premiere on FlickLaunch, the first movie distribution platform built on Facebook for independent filmmakers, takes a unique approach to telling the house’s story. Give the house is the only location in the horror thriller, and the basement serves as the primary antagonist, writer Kris Hulbert, who co-directed the film with Randy Kent, was able to maintain viewers’ interest in the house’s evil by telling the three stories. Each short story proves the directors’ message that evil isn’t always passed down generation to generation, amongst families; society and exposure to external past crimes can lead to people to their breaking points.
Of the three stories, ‘Chic-ken’ is the most entertaining, as it derives from the family element of ‘The Storm’ and ‘Dinner Guest.’ Kulbert and Kent show that like society, which can become desensitized to evil after repeatedly watching horror films and television shows, the female victim becomes numb to John’s repeated torture and killing of other innocent people. The two have an interesting dynamic together, as the female knows what John is doing is wrong, but she comes to revel in the killings, since she has witnessed it for years.
Hulbert and Ken also kept viewers interested in ‘The Perfect House’ by including inspiration from the several horror sub-genres. ‘The Storm’ takes the Hitchcok approach by focusing on the suspense and deteriorating relationships between the family members. Each member misinterprets the others’ motives, which leads to off-camera violence and killings. ‘Chic-ken’ follows in the footsteps of the ‘Saw’ series and other torture porn movies, as it relies heavily on the on-screen physical torture and killing of John’s victims. ‘Dinner Guest,’ meanwhile, focuses on the psychological effects the stranger’s graphic violence has on the family.
While Kulbert and Kent deserve credit for creating an intriguing concept for the film, the acting unfortunately isn’t the most impressive the horror genre has ever seen. Since ‘The Perfect House’ is heavily focused on showing the violence and discontent among the characters, the actors have little time to focus on developing the backstories for their characters. The actors have little to relate to personality-wise, as Hulbert and Kent seemed more intent on focusing on the torture and killings than on building the characters.
Overall, Kulbert and Kent had an interesting concept with ‘The Perfect House,’ as they wanted to showcase how the evil of a particular place can harm and influence several diverse groups of people. Instead of showing one particular person harming all the victims, the two filmmakers aimed, and succeeded, in showing that society can lead many people to evil. While the anthology is also a unique concept in modern horror films, the lack of the actors’ bonding to their characters unfortunately took away from the movie’s overall theme and focus.
Written by: Karen Benardello