REVIEW: House in the Alley (2012)

houseinthealley

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2012, Pathfinder Films Inc.

Director:
Le-Van Kiet
Producer:
Dan Tran
Writer:
Le-Van Kiet
Cinematography:
Joel Spezeski
Editing:
Le-Van Kiet

Cast:
Veronica Ngo (Thao)
Tran Bao Son (Thahn)
Van Hai Bui (Minh)

A combination of Paranormal Activity and perhaps, Rosemary’s Baby, with shades of The Shining, this horror film from Vietnam broke box office records and fans of The Rebel and Clash will see lead actress Veronica Ngo in a brand new light.

Thao is a young woman who lives with her husband Thahn. Shortly after suffering a miscarriage that almost claimed her life, she goes against everyone’s wishes and keeps the dead fetus in a coffin. The couple moves into a house that Thanh’s father and brother gave him as he is the heir to take over the family warehouse. As they move into the new house, both Thao and Thahn to experience strange things.

While Thanh keeps cool despite objections from his domineering mother, Thao is the one who gets the worst of the experiences. She slowly begins to lose her mind, going as far as beginning an assault on her husband to dancing naked in the rain. While Thanh slowly begins to suspect where the source of the madness might be and must find a way to stop it before he loses his mind completely as well.

Filmmaker Le-Van Kiet came up with a haunted house tale that may seem like an ordinary style film. However, taking concepts from various horror films of this element, he does add one interesting notion of the film. Our couple, Thao and Trahn, slowly go insane while in the house they move into. However, when they are not in the house, they lead a regular life yet they each suspect the other one going into madness.

Vietnamese action heroine Veronica Ngo delves into horror and this is a chance to show what she can do outside the typecast box. She does quite well as a woman tormented at first because she lost her unborn child and goes as far as not burying it but rather gets the coffin an keeping it in a casket. It is here that sets up her method to madness. She goes from sinking into a catatonic state to slowly emerging as a young woman who begins to lose her mind. When she goes to lunch with a friend to help her ease her pain, she confesses a dark secret involving the house while Thanh, who can be seen as a mama’s boy, reveals to his mother how his wife is slowly changing.

Don’t think the film is absolutely a gorefest, because the bloodiest scene is the opening scene. Yes, it is the miscarriage scene, which sets up the events of the film. The movie is a virtual “kick you in your brain” fest and it is seen as a supernatural psychological thriller. When everything is finally revealed, it brings a value of one dropping your mouth…just when you think it’s one thing, it is really something else…or is it?

House in the Alley is a pretty decent entry in the Asian horror genre. While the opening is the bloodiest scene of the film, the rest is definitely a film that will mess with you head as you begin to feel as if you are slowly going into insanity like the couple here. Worth a rental.

WFG RATING: B

DVD

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