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Movie Review: The Seasoning House (2012)

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The Seasoning House (2012)

Directed by Paul Hyett

DVD: The Seasoning House (2012), starring Rosie Day and Kevin HowarthThe seasoning House is a British horror movie set in Europe during the Yugoslav Wars. The movie was directed by Paul Hyett, who is better known for his expertise in the field of makeup special effects (Eden Lake, The Descent). 

The majority of the action takes place in an illegal brothel where kidnapped girls are forced to live in squalor and cater to the various perverted desires of the brothel's unwholesome clientele. Rosie Day (Family Affairs, Homefront) stars as Angel, a deaf mute brought to the brothel by the soldiers who murdered her mother. 

Kevin Howarth (The Last Horror Movie, Razor Blade Smile) plays the brothel's head man, Viktor. He's cold and cruel and altogether a nasty piece of work, but he takes a shine to the young mute, saving her for his own bed and sparing her many of the cruelties that the other girls have to endure until their abused bodies finally give up the ghost and are thrown into the pile of rotting flesh in the woods behind the brothel.

Angel is also entrusted with the task of getting the other girls ready when Viktor is informed that customers are on the way. This entails injecting them with drugs and hastily applying a few dabs of makeup to their dirty faces. When the clients have gone Angel is also the one who must clean up the other girls' battered, bruised and often very bloody bodies. She keeps her head down and performs her tasks without the slightest show of emotion until a girl called Vanya (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) arrives at the house. Vanya knows how to use sign language because her father was deaf, so the two girls develop a bond and Angel begins making secret visits to Vanya's room by negotiating the crawlspace between the walls and entering via the air grid.

Things come to a head when the soldiers who murdered Angel's mother return to the brothel and Angel witnesses her new friend being brutally raped. The soldier has wedged a piece of wood under the door handle to prevent anyone from helping Vanya if she screams too loudly, but his action also prevents his friends from coming to his rescue when Angel crawls from the wall and plunges her knife into him. He's a big guy though, so he takes a lot of killing, but she gets there in the end and is soon playing a game of cat and mouse with the other soldiers, who are keen to avenge his death.

The Seasoning House is good movie, but some viewers may find the subject matter offensive. The movie isn't filled with scenes of sex and carnal over indulgence, but it’s never nice to see people being forced having to live like animals and being treated like a commodities. 

There are only a couple of sex scenes in The Seasoning House. It's not a sexploitation movie; it’s a movie about people being exploited. The most graphic scene is the one where Vanya is raped and ultimately killed. It's a disturbing scene that is more violent than erotic and serves the important purpose of making Angel take action against her oppressors.

Viewers who are nervous about needles may also find a few scenes make them shudder, and an early scene in the movie, where Viktor Victor exerts his authority over a new batch of girls by choosing one at random, and cutting open her throat, is particularly nasty. The mind boggles at how the special effects department managed to make the action seem so real, but bearing in mind who directed the movie, such graphic realism is probably only to be expected.

The only real problem with the movie is that no explanation is offered as to how the soldiers and Viktor manage to get away with their crimes. The soldiers appear to be able to just march into a village kill everyone they don't need and then cart away the young girls. Then there are all those decomposing bodies stinking up the woods—and nobody is asking any questions? It seems a little too far-fetched. 

Then when Angel escapes everyone she meets is either involved with what is going on, or just allows everything the soldiers do to go unchallenged. Other than that there's not a lot wrong with The Seasoning House. The end is a little disappointing but all in all it's a lot better than many bigger budget productions and it is, if nothing else, something a little different.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Runtime: 90 mins
Certificate: 18 (UK)


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