Thursday, October 15, 2020

Spook Out! Day 15 ~ The House That Jack Built (2018)

IMDb Says...
"The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman."

I Say...
I'm not sure I buy the "highly intelligent" bit, but otherwise it's an accurate summary.

Horror Type...
Psychological Horror, Serial Killer, Art Film

Main Players...
Matt Dillon as Jack, aka "Mr. Sophistication" (Architect of Destruction)
Bruno Ganz as Verge (Framing Device)

I liked...
  • that there were five distinct "incidents" (murders) which Jack discussed with Verge, to explain how he evolved in his "art"
  • the dark, mordant humor in the first two incidents, and that it reappeared for the fifth
  • the acting, all around, especially Matt Dillon (definitely award-winning work)

The Meh...
  • The framing device of Jack's (unseen) conversation with "Verge" often went off on long-ish tangents on such topics of art, poetry, Nazis,icons, and quite frankly I did not give a carp about any of that--especially since...
  • This movie's two and a half hours long! The time-consuming philosophical discourse could've easily been done away with, without injuring the film (but then I guess it wouldn't be a von Trier film? I dunno, this was my first.)
  • Spoilers ahead, double-click the dark to read :: It's true that serial killers may have a particular type of victim to which they're drawn, as in Ted Bundy (after whom Jack was largely patterned, it seems) who preyed upon young women with long dark hair. Here, though Jack tells Verge he's also killed men, we're shown more than 4 women being murdered (and, actually, some children) and only one man (in a kind of self-defense, so, not for pleasure). Toward the end, Jack's got about five men awaiting his cold-blooded mercies but their fates are left unknown--we're not shown Jack delighting in their deaths, as he does in those of the women, it's not even clear whether he kills them. So in this particular case, the killer didn't only target women--so why not show us how (if!) he murdered those five men??? I am just so fucking sick of women and children being disposable targets for men's bullshit. von Trier, and other male directors/writers/etc., have never had to worry about their tits being sliced off and made into wallets and it shows. ::
  • One more spoiler :: During some of Jack's conversations with Verge, we're shown a younger Jack mutilating an animal and some footage from concentration camps. Some other points, we see the horrible things Jack's done to the corpses in his walk-in freezer. There may have been further grotesqueries but I must've blocked them out. Frankly, I can't wait for this flick to evaporate from my memory. ::

Would I recommend it...?
The House That Jack Built is no traditional Hollywood horror movie, but it is filled with gruesome horrors that could probably turn all but the most cast iron of stomachs. It has some funny moments, but the humor is very dark indeed. If you dig the severely twisted, this movie's for you. Otherwise, you may wish to consider viewing the serial-killer mockumentary I reviewed last October: Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Uma Thurman was great here, as the first (and most annoying) victim we're shown. I also enjoyed seeing the fabulous Siobhan Fallon Hogan reunited with Dillon, fellow alumnus from the creepy af Wayward Pines series.

My Grade: B
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Tomatometer=59%, Audience Score=65%

Details, Schmeetails...
I Watched The House That Jack Built on Hulu (the Rotten Tomatoes page linked above provides links to other streaming platforms)

This trailer contains disturbing scenes of violence, actual and implied.

This concludes Day 15 of

Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow...



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