14th Sep2018

‘Dead House’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Danny Cutler, Alex Lucchesi, Alex Southern, Kate Marie Davies, David White, James Wiles, Vanina Marini, Ettore Nicoletti, Alexandra Antonioli | Written by Brini Amerigo, Andrea Cavaletto, Marco Palese | Directed by Brini Amerigo

dead-house-poster

A medical scientist and his family are having dinner together in their isolated villa in the hills. But just as they’re getting comfortable, the family is assaulted by three violent, masked thugs who donʼt want money or goods, they just want to humiliate and annihilate their prey both mentally and physically. The men are playing a deadly game of cat and mouse, which will lead to the certain death of the hostages. However this group of thieves have the tables turned on them… Hidden in the basement they find the remains of secret viral lab experiments gone savagely wrong. Now they must escape before they are infected with a new strain of virus that turns its victims into mutated psychopaths.

Well someone’s watched A Serbian Film once too often haven’t they? At least it would seem that’s the case given the opening scene of writer/director Brini Amerigo’s Dead House (aka Beautiful People) – a man making love to his wife apologies for what has happened as the camera pulls back from the “action” and its revealed that the couples love-making session has been forced upon them by a group of psychopaths filming their every move. Literally. Psychopaths who are disappointed in the action before them and brutally take it out on the man, his wife, and their daughter who they’ve forced to watch everything.

From there Dead House jumps to yet another house, yet another family and we know what’s coming… Though inbetween Amerigo throws in a brief scene of a woman trapped in a basement beset by a zombie, without context may I add. Though given the films synopsis we know this is a foreshadowing of whats to come!

A mash-up of the home invasion thriller and the classic zombie film, Dead House is a very bleak film, reminding me very much of James Cullen Bressack’s Hate Crime; only the villains here have less motivation! For a start our trio of invaders – leader Nibbio (Danny Cutler), his younger brother, Brett (Alex Southern) and Testamento (Alex Lucchesi) – are nihilstic in their pursuit of whatever perverse pleasure they get from attacking strangers in their own home; with only the youngest, Brett, seemingly with any sort of conscience.

But then there’s also “timid” scientist John who, on the surface looks like a regular family man, but hides an evil streak much darker than even that of his attackers – after all you can’t be Mr. Nice Guy if you have a gaggle of undead humans in your basement can you? It’s nice to see Brit actress Kate Marie Davies, as John’s wife Elena, in another genre film. She’s once again put through the ringer (it seems to be her forte given what I’ve seen of her other horror roles), subjected to some rather nasty (and misogynistic) behaviour from the gang of home invaders. But she too isn’t the squeaky clean mother we thought she was… Ultimately it turns out that none of the grown-ups in this film are exactly who you think they are!

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I have a distinct feeling that Brini Amerigo and co. were aiming for something of an allegorical tale with Dead House, again a la A Serbian Film. The gang leader Nibbio has an Illuminati symbol on the back of his hand – as if he and his gang represent the illuminati, running roughshod over their victims, who are a metaphor for society as a whole, caring for nothing other than their own desires and motivations. Then there’s John, whose work is being financed by a shady, unnamed corporation or government, who have unlimited resources and, again, have no care for anyone or anything other than their experiment – which, in the credits, looks like its bringing about a new world order. How very political of the filmmakers – but then haven’t zombie films, since George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, always had a socio-political bent?

Dark, unrepenting, violent and VERY gory, Dead House is sure to tick the boxes of genre fans eveywhere. The is available on VOD now from Wild Eye Releasing

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