The Seasoning House
Reviewed by Andy
The Seasoning House would be a chirpy title for a cannibal knees-up, but there’s nothing so cheerful in Paul Hyett’s vicious tale of the young girls dishomed by war and exploited by ruthless soldiers. We follow Angel, a deaf and mute girl who has been chosen to help the soldiers by keeping the girls made up and drugged up for the paying visitors, and cleaning up the blood and mess afterwards. Compliance is set early on in a way that rams home the casual disregard for life by the men involved, but after being entrusted with a key apparently opening the main door, and striking a friendship with a girl who can communicate via sign language, will Angel take her opportunity – or is it a test?
Set in the Balkans, the story elements may be ficticious but the basis is predominantly in fact, which makes the film all the more disquieting. I really wasn’t proud of being male by the end of the film!
Blistering performances by Kevin Howarth, Sean Pertwee and especially Rosie Day as Angel add effectiveness to the sparse use of dialogue, and tension levels are kept high by the direction and soundscape. It’s a film you won’t say you “enjoy” per se, but it’s an disturbing and well-made movie that has a real point to impart and does so effectively. ***1/2