DEAD HOUSE ** Italy 2014 Dir: Brini Amerigo. 73 mins
A tonally shifting splatter movie that opens in post-HOSTEL territory: a sadistic Cockney bastard and his reluctantly filming, meeker brother order a married couple at gunpoint to fuck in front of their own daughter. When they fail to “perform”, all three die.
The opening title sequence hints at future zombie action before we settle into home invasion territory, as a British family (scientist Dad, grumpy teen son with Troma collection, younger son and wife) are confronted with the psycho siblings and their comedy moustachioed Italian sidekick, who sadistically torment them until the significance of Dad’s secret lab finally becomes apparent. Also released as BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, this Italian effort gets bogged down in an endless, joyless humiliation-a-thon as the verbose main thug subjects the couple to an assortment of sexual threats and insults – the depressingly rote dialogue perhaps best encapsulated by “You’ll make a good director one day – Gus Van Sant will deep throat your cock!” It tries hard to be mean spirited and unpleasant, but winds up as mostly tedious, striving for a homage to Romero’s nihilistic classics but prone to hurling rape and murdered kids at the screen in a childish bid to shock. The final 15 minutes deliver some diverting and well done practical gore FX, but the excess of endings and laughable climactic dialogue seal its doom.
Review by Steven West