Hounds of Love (2017)

 

Smiths Chips will never be the same again…

 A cold blooded predatory couple while cruising the streets in search of their next victim, will stumble upon a 17-year-old high school girl, who will be sedated, abducted and chained in the stranger’s guest room.

Another gritty Australian entry for the month of May, with Ben Young’s astonishing directorial debut, Hounds of Love. Upon first glance, one would think this simply to be another entry into the poor subgenre of torture porn, but Young has twisted the narrative and instead at its core Hounds of Love is a tragic story of a relationship malfunctioning. For this tale, we are shown the side of the captors, and instead of being a predictable tale of one woman escaping abuse, it’s a tale of two.

Hounds of Love is powerfully acted, it is a trio tour de force of performances from the leading stars – Stephen Curry, Emma Booth and Ashleigh Cummings. For us locals, we recognize Curry as a very much loveable and generally adorable stand-up comedian so it is a complete shock to the system to see him pull off such a terrifying slimy performance of what could be one of the most heinous, sleaziest characters imagined.

It is easily understandable that these subgenres are definitely an acquired taste, but Hounds has more class than any ol’ torture porn flick. It is violent in nature, but mostly the nastiest moments are implied. Young leaves us to use the darkest depths of our imagination to make sense of what is going on behind closed doors.

Young has pulled off a remarkable entrance by successfully traumatising audiences around the world with his low budget gem, the gritty realism is disturbing and the performances are downright riveting. Hounds of Love is a knock out.

8.0 / 10

“I’ll tell you what. How about… you and I… go in there right now and show her who’s running the show?”

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From A House On Willow Street (2017)

From A House On Willow Street aka Jumpscare: The Movie

After a young woman is kidnapped, her captors soon come to realize that in fact they may be the ones in danger and this young woman has a dark secret inside her.

Alastair Orr, a name I am not familiar with but seems to have a few horror features tucked underneath his belt already, delivers low budget horror; From A House On Willow Street, and after this I won’t be surprised if Orr is still a name people don’t know.

What sounded like a promising premise, Willow Street is let down by its repetitive nature and the sad fact that it solely requires on jump scares to elicit any sort of fright. Again, there is a great concept here, blending the tropes of kidnapping and possession into one, but it seemingly unfolds into another substandard horror. It all feels like familiar territory, the characters are one dimensional, the dialogue is stilted and too many things are happening at once. Somehow a film with a slim running time of 86 minutes feels a lot longer.

Scream Queen Sharni Vinson (from You’re Next) ill-advisedly speaks with a poor American accent, a slight hiccup that can’t go unnoticed with such wooden dialogue. The surrounding cast are hopelessly inadequate at portraying any real sense of emotion, Zino Ventura is particularly bad, being his debut acting performance AND debut producing gig… Choose one mate, you can’t do both.

What I did find inspiring was the practical effects, the makeup was incredibly gruesome, but again was too soon forgotten when poor CGI is needlessly used for moments that felt far too extended.

I think this could have been a great little film, if only the filmmakers worked without their means, stuck to one location, lost a bit of the silliness and kept the narrative as a taut claustrophobic thriller. Willow Street kept me on the edge alright, the edge of wanting to switch over to a different flick.

3.5 / 10

“You should really let me go or your all going to die tonight”