‘The Seasoning House’ – sick revenge thriller review
The Seasoning House is a 2012 British thriller starring Rosie Day, Sean Pertwee and Kevin Howarth. The story centres around a deaf mute girl called Angel (Day) who is kidnapped by military men along with other teenage girls from her village.
Now, this film is billed as a thriller. But so is that song by Michael Jackson and The Seasoning House leans more on the side of horror a lot of the time. It’s certainly not a film for the faint hearted. The kidnapped girls are subsequently ‘given’ to a man named Victor (Howarth) who traps them in his dingy, depressing house. Victor keeps the girls so he can sell them for sex.
The story is set during 1996 and I’m not sure where exactly but judging by the (occasionally dodgy) accents I’d guess somewhere in Eastern Europe. It’s classic Jason & the Argonauts Syndrome where no-one speaks the language of their native land. Oh well, not everyone likes subtitles I guess – ooh I’m such a bitchy snob aren’t I! In actual fact, I’m not bothered by the accents at all. I’ve seen Sean Connery in Highlander.
So the evil Victor takes a shine to Angel and because of this and the birthmark on her face, decides not to put her with the other girls but to instead make her his personal assistant. This is not a desirable job but is marginally better than what the other girls are put through. And of course it gives the story a semblance of hope and intrigue – Angel is our protagonist after all.
She soon realises she can fit through the ventilation system and can move around the house undetected, visiting the other girls secretly and showing them the compassion they are denied the rest of the time.
The girls are kept tied up in separate rooms, guarded by Victor’s henchman. One of Angel’s duties is to prepare them for male visitors – apply their make-up, wash away the blood and inject them with heroin. Nice eh? They’re in squalid conditions and are mistreated VERY badly by the men who pay Victor to have sex with them. Some of the men are so aggressive they leave the girls with broken bones. In one unforgettable scene, it is revealed that one of the girl’s has a broken pelvis. Victor, apparently unfazed by this, just charges the man more money.
And that’s pretty much how this awful, depressing story plays out – in a hellish routine of rape, violence and darkness. To be honest I wonder why they even make these movies sometimes, let alone why I watch them.
I mean yeah it’s billed as a revenge movie and yeah the time does come where Angel dishes out a little retribution but it’s too little and it’s too late. The whole film is horrible and the ending isn’t great – there basically just isn’t enough satisfying vengeance to rid the sour taste afterwards.
The Seasoning House is undeniably a captivating film. My hand involuntarily went over my mouth in shock. I spoke out loud (“oh my god”) despite watching it by myself. And sometimes it is refreshing to watch something so shocking and nerve shattering that it really does have such an emotional effect. I was rooting for Angel and the girls so much – my eyes didn’t stay dry but all in all, it was just far too unpleasant to ever be something I’d watch again.
There was one scene in particular that was awful and actually frightening to watch. The rapist / antagonist in this scene was a huge, giant of a man and the way he prowled the room, the way he looked at the girl he was about to abuse and the fear in her eyes, I have no doubt that even in years to come, I will remember that scene. It scared me and after the film ended I checked my windows were closed and made sure the front door was locked.
On the plus side the gore was really well done and there were some super realistic violent scenes which thankfully were aimed at the right people (woo hoo). Satisfying pain which made me both wince and rejoice that a little comeuppance was happening. Oh and Sean Pertwee is in it – always a delight, even though he was a right bastard in this.
All in all, if you’re a fan of extreme subject horrors or just one of those people who has to ‘watch everything’ I would still recommend this film as a genuinely tense and shocking piece of cinema. But don’t expect a warm and fuzzy feeling afterwards. In fact maybe plan for some Family Guy or something.