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Directed by Can Evrenol
Written by Can Evrenol, Cem Özüduru
Starring Clémentine Poidatz, David Sakurai, Alicia Kapudag, Ali Aksöz, Defne Halman, Zuri Sen, Elif Gülalp, Müge Büyüktalas, Resit Berker Enhos, Gunes Galava
HOUSEWIFE is a weird petunia from the creators behind last year’s stunner BASKIN. I won’t say it’s particularly great, but it is extremely odd and bizarre, which is going to be enough of a recommendation for some people who simply like to see things they haven’t seen before. Others who like a more linear and sensible tale might want to avoid this one.
When she was a child, Holly (Clémentine Poidatz) witnessed the brutal murder of her sister and father at the hands of her mother. Now an adult, Holly is the trophy wife of a wealthy man, bored with everything and distracted by her own suppressed memories of a tragic youth. When Holly attends a group seminar called the Umbrella of Love and Mind, lead by a charismatic guru (David Sakurai), she is “awakened” to a new view of life. Unbeknownst to her, though, the Umbrella of Love and Mind see something much more special in Holly that gives way to elder gods, gore, and all kinds of twisted imagery.
I don’t want to deny that HOUSEWIFE has some scenes that will sear their way into your psyche. Like BASKIN before it, there are some sequences seemingly torn from the most depraved of nightmares and images that straddle the line between beautiful and grotesque. As a visionary film, HOUSEWIFE is a winner as it really is full of sights, sounds, and sensations that you just don’t see in most films.
That said, there is an otherworldly feeling to HOUSEWIFE that feels somewhat disconnected to normal human emotions and reality. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that this is an English speaking film made by a Turkish director. Because of this territorial disconnect, there is somewhat of a disconnect between the story Evrenol wants to tell and the one that shows up on screen. The acting is quite stiff, again most likely because the Turkish actors are speaking a language they may not fully understand. And the actions of everyone has an inhuman quality to them that really made me tune out as it was hard to connect or empathize with anyone involved in this movie.
Evrenol keeps the momentum moving at a brisk pace all the way through HOUSEWIFE—beginning with a horrific murder, then peppering nightmares and hallucinations throughout before doing the ice bucket challenge with the gore and intergalactic trippery in the final act. It makes for a film with a relentless pace and it will keep those visually stimulated all the way through. Evrenol’s eye is unique and he definitely is a voice in horror that I will always follow. But without any type of human angle to connect with makes HOUSEWIFE a tough pill to swallow and it made me check out by the time the ballistic ending blasted off.
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