A teenage girl brings six of her friends to her aunt's house for summer vacation; gorgeously-shot weird things happen to them for the next ninety minutes.
A notorious cult classic honored with a Criterion Collection release in 2009, House deserves its newfound rep as a vanguard of Weird Japanese Cinema. Arguably acceptable even for kids, if your kids can handle some mild nudity, the film is brazen in its structure: one bonkers scene concept after another, without stopping to take a breath. A head flies out of a well and bites a girl's ass; a girl's fingers are bitten off by a piano; and this god-damned menacing cat just sort of stalks around, freaking everybody out. I don't think of House as formally satisfying, or particularly effective as a horror film, but it is utterly unique, gorgeous, and worthwhile. If the idea of nostalgic-for-a-time-before-the-70s advertising-filmmaking used to hazily, surrealistically dance around the outline of a feeling, or a fleeting idea, sounds good? Then you're gonna love it. Alternately: eat some mushrooms half an hour before it starts.
CAST + CREW
Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi (The Drifting Classroom, Sada)
Cast: Kimiko Ikegami (Dangerous Women, A Chaos of Flowers)
Miki Jinbo (Keiji monogatari 4: Kuroshi o no uta)
Yôko Minamida (Pigs and Battleships, An Outlaw,
The Guys Who Put Money on Me)
CONTENT (spoilered; highlight for warnings)
violence against young women, fatphobia, ass-biting
CAREER STATS [on a scale from 1 (least) to 10 (most)]
The teens are fun, and the imagery phantasmagorical.
Weirder than it is scary, but wow, is it weird.
Claustrophobic, cluttered frames offset whimsy with dread.
An experience for all Japanophiles and horror freaks.
Evil Dead 2, Jigoku (1960), Kuroneko, Santa Sangre