Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Happy House

Wonderfully droll horror comedy with a memorably weird cast of characters.

May 2, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376608-Happy_House_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

“Leave, just leave!” How many times have you wanted to yell that at movie characters, from The Haunting to The Shining and beyond, who stay and stay in places that are obviously rife with evil spirits? Actually, in The Happy House, Wendy (Aya Cash) tries to do just that by fleeing the sinister B&B she has checked into, leaving behind her far more accommodating, infuriating husband Joe (Khan Baykal). But darned if her car doesn’t break down, bringing her back to this dread inn of iniquity.

Debut feature director/writer D.W. Young has created a puckishly diverting horror comedy, fully in the tradition of the great James Whale, who also loved to inject perversely unexpected humor into his chill factor. The final third, when the scares really set in, is the weakest part of the movie, but Young manages to sustain things overall with admirable poise and sneaky charm.

Young sketches an unlikely gallery of characters whom he clearly revels in and who are nearly as memorable as those in Whale’s deliriously twisted The Old Dark House. Besides feisty urbanite Wendy and terminally laid-back Joe, whose marriage is, unsurprisingly, on the rocks, there’s the dominating, purse-mouthed innkeeper Hildie (Marceline Hugot, quite magnificent), with her mingily doled out “best blueberry muffins in the world” (ubiquitous bane of all B&Bs) and her puritanical, endless book of rules forbidding swearing, spirits and basically anything resembling fun. The sole other guest is a Swedish lepidopterist bearing the immediately giggle-inducing name of Mr. Hverven (Oliver Henzler, nearly as droll as Christoph Waltz might have been in this role). And then there’s Hildie’s menacing hulk of an axe-wielding son, Skip (Mike Houston), and Linda (Kathleen McNenny), her blessedly irreverent sister.

This garrulously eccentric group—all of whom are eventually dumbfounded by the eventual turn of events—make for some amazingly agreeable company. After viewing The Happy House, however, one may seriously question any future notion of ever staying in one of those oh-so-“charming” roadside nooks filled with welcoming faces and the smell of freshly baked goodies in the air.


Film Review: The Happy House

Wonderfully droll horror comedy with a memorably weird cast of characters.

May 2, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376608-Happy_House_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

“Leave, just leave!” How many times have you wanted to yell that at movie characters, from The Haunting to The Shining and beyond, who stay and stay in places that are obviously rife with evil spirits? Actually, in The Happy House, Wendy (Aya Cash) tries to do just that by fleeing the sinister B&B she has checked into, leaving behind her far more accommodating, infuriating husband Joe (Khan Baykal). But darned if her car doesn’t break down, bringing her back to this dread inn of iniquity.

Debut feature director/writer D.W. Young has created a puckishly diverting horror comedy, fully in the tradition of the great James Whale, who also loved to inject perversely unexpected humor into his chill factor. The final third, when the scares really set in, is the weakest part of the movie, but Young manages to sustain things overall with admirable poise and sneaky charm.

Young sketches an unlikely gallery of characters whom he clearly revels in and who are nearly as memorable as those in Whale’s deliriously twisted The Old Dark House. Besides feisty urbanite Wendy and terminally laid-back Joe, whose marriage is, unsurprisingly, on the rocks, there’s the dominating, purse-mouthed innkeeper Hildie (Marceline Hugot, quite magnificent), with her mingily doled out “best blueberry muffins in the world” (ubiquitous bane of all B&Bs) and her puritanical, endless book of rules forbidding swearing, spirits and basically anything resembling fun. The sole other guest is a Swedish lepidopterist bearing the immediately giggle-inducing name of Mr. Hverven (Oliver Henzler, nearly as droll as Christoph Waltz might have been in this role). And then there’s Hildie’s menacing hulk of an axe-wielding son, Skip (Mike Houston), and Linda (Kathleen McNenny), her blessedly irreverent sister.

This garrulously eccentric group—all of whom are eventually dumbfounded by the eventual turn of events—make for some amazingly agreeable company. After viewing The Happy House, however, one may seriously question any future notion of ever staying in one of those oh-so-“charming” roadside nooks filled with welcoming faces and the smell of freshly baked goodies in the air.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Film Review: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Venture inside the hallowed hallways of Japan's most prestigious animation studio in this insightful documentary. More »

Antarctica: A  Year On Ice
Film Review: Antarctica: A Year on Ice

Thrilling, award-winning New Zealand doc about the mysterious and forbidding continent at the bottom of the world is not your usual travelogue, but a surprising exploration of the human soul and human needs. Happily, adorable penguins and stunning visuals also get screen time. More »

Remote Area Medical
Film Review: Remote Area Medical

Doc offers in-the-trenches evidence of dire need in the U.S. health-care system. More »

Immortalists
Film Review: The Immortalists

Attention-grabbing subject meets colorful characters in this science doc. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Penguins of Madagascar
Film Review: Penguins of Madagascar

Frenetic vehicle for supporting players from the Madagascar films will entertain kids but prove a little wearying for their parents. More »

imitation game
Film Review: The Imitation Game

Terrific biopic about world-class mathematician and social misfit Alan Turing, who, in spite of a painful struggle with his homosexuality, helped the Allies break the code of the Nazis' Enigma machine. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here