One snowbound night Holly witness a mommy meltdown that leaves her sister drowned in a toilet bowl and her father viciously carved up. Understandably traumatised Holly lives her life in the shadow of psychological anguish. The last thing she needs is her vulnerable psyche to become permeated by the scheming “Umbrella of Love and Mind”.
By staying true to his belief that cinema is a ‘perverts art’ Evrenol (Baskin) has spewed a punchy and concise horror flick. An intriguing sophomore salvo that shrugs off the pantomimes of traditional plot constraints and utilises his unique camera language to articulate the complex themes instead.
Under his guidance, the embodiments of Holly’s distress become both conduits for empathy and triggers for disgust. We feel her pain as she masturbates desperately over conjured images of her sibling’s death throes. When she urinates in the sink of a perfectly well-accoutred bathroom we are repelled by the absurdity but also touched by the character’s helpless fragility.
All of the horror film mechanics are finely tuned with superb music and an intense sound design, while the unsettling surrealism and shocking imagery evoke atmospheric comparisons with the first act of Martyrs.
There are also some quality jump scares, with one in particular landing so left of field that it jolts savagely in its plain sight lucidity. Grand Guignol bloodbaths bookend the film and the effects are practical and on the whole realistic so gorehounds will not go away disappointed.
The acting is pared down to fit the self-contained universe but Clémentine Poidatz does fine work in the lead role. She is the solid anchor point amongst the murky mysticism and carries the film with subtlety and grace. David Sakurai is weirdly compelling as the cult figurehead Bruce O’Hara, a heady blend of the Tom Cruise character from Magnolia and second phase David Icke.
As is the current vogue the film visibly channels the restless spirit of classic Giallo cinema. However, Housewife takes the key tropes and ingests them as creative nourishment rather than regurgitate them in an upchuck of artistic impoverishment. More of a revised blueprint than a gushing love letter this allows the film to preserve its own fractured personality.
If you found traction with the Rosemary’s Baby elements of Mother and value in the headfuckery of Hereditary then this compact psycho-chiller will keep you entertained and repulsed in equal measure.
Housewife may appear superficial and capricious at times but these are the intentional distraction techniques of a master manipulator. Evrenol is far more concerned with the organics of cinematic integrity than the chains of narrative alignment. As such his film is structurally blurred and determinedly esoteric but this is, after all, a movie that trades in the currency of dreams.
Dream cult, Horror, Mystery | Turkey/USA, 2017 | 82 mins | – Strong threat, gory images, bloody violence | RLJE films | VOD & DVD |USA 2nd Oct 2018 | Dir. Can Evrenol| Cast. Clémentine Poidatz, David Sakurai, Alicia Kapudag