Complete A-Z list

Seasoning House, The (AF)


Stars: Rosie Day, Kevin Howarth, Sean Pertwee, Anna Walton, Jemma Powell, Alec Utgoff, David Lemberg, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Ryan Oliva, Abigail Hamilton

Director: Paul Hyett

The setting is war-torn Balkans in 1996 where young mute orphaned girl Rosie Day (giving a rather better account of herself than the material deserves) has been taken captive by Kevin Howarth who uses her to tend to and administer drugs to the imprisoned women forced to work as whores in his bleak bordello. Finally, driven by the death of a friend, and able to scuttle unseen around the brothel by using 'secret' passages behind the walls, Day plans blood-soaked vengeance against Howarth and Sean Pertwee who lead his squad of thuggish soldiers in slaughtering Day’s mother and sister before taking her captive…

The late Spanish director Jesus Franco who specialized in low budget horror and sex exploitation movies would almost certainly have appreciated this deeply unpleasant offering.

Debut director Paul Hyett (also doubling as screenwriter) would doubtless agree with Franco, describing The Seasoning House as “a harrowing emotional ride; an exercise in claustrophobia and tension”.

Well, he’s entitled to his opinion.

Mine is considerably less self-serving.

This largely repellent blend of sadistic horror and sex (which was the opening film in London’s 2012 ‘Frightfest’ horror film festival, sponsored by the British television station Channel 4) manages to be both deeply unpleasant and uncomfortably voyeuristic and strictly for horrorflick addicts unable to let a single shocker pass unseen.

On the (minimal) credit side, the atmospheric cinematography (Adam Etherington) and editing (Agnieszka Ligget) are more efficient than the film deserves, and add welcome professionalism to former special effects make-up expert Hyett’s too often off-target storytelling.

Alan Frank

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Kaleidoscope. Colour.
88 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Jun 2013