The 13th annual Frightfest in London kicked off with the world premier of The Seasoning House. This gritty thriller from the special effects legend Paul Hyett (Cockney’s vs Zombies, Doomsday, The Descent) itting in the director’s chair for the first time, was a slow burning tale of suspense and hatred.
Some time ago Angel (Rosie Day) was living a normal life in the Balkans, until a group of Mercenaries led by Goran (Sean Pertwee) took command of her village, killing many of the residents including her mother. The young woman were gathered up and sold into prostitution, to cater for the needs of the soldiers. The house ran by Viktor (Alan Howarth), is let by terror. Because Angel has a birthmark, and is mute she is cleared of selling her body, but instead must look after the girls, including keeping them drugged up to make them easier for the soldiers to use. When Angel strikes up a friendship with one of the women, it’s time for a change.
The Seasoning House is a sharp punch in the face for an opening movie of any festival, let alone one centered in the horror genre. It has a well paced story, that slowly mixes the events of the past and the present, in a musically load, visually slow assault on the senses.
It’s great to watch Angel, amazingly played by relative newcomer Rosie Day kick into action, taking her first victim in a sustained and bloody knife assault, which includes one of the most painful to watch face penetrating scenes, in which she cuts through the side of his mouth.
The performers handle the subject matter well, despite the fact they are all British playing Eastern European’s. It has to be said, they don’t all quite pull it off, but this does not ruin the overall effect of the movie.
Impressively shot, the movie was filmed in its entirety on a RAF base in Uxbridge, London. It looks like a much bigger and somewhat more complete picture, than Hyett actually delivered, which is definitely to his credit.
The Seasoning House is not for the faint hearted, and is a good mix of edge of the seat suspense, and black humour. It delivers much on what was obviously a constrained budget, and will no doubt become a smash hit when it goes on general release.