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James X. Loftus
Everett and Glory Hutchins live in a typical middle class neighborhood. Maybe your neighborhood. The Hutchins have a "guestroom" in their home. It's not exactly a business. It's a hobby. Or.....would you say religion? You see, Everett and Glory are practicing cannibals. It's a proclivity that you can't readily share with friend or neighbor. When Richard Ruebens answers Everett's classified add to buy a classic car, he becomes their latest potential meal. But......Richard has no intention of being a lamb led to slaughter. Written by
You know how it is. You're a bloke, you're in a relationship, but you still go off to look at Boy's Toys when you should be doing relationship building stuff like moving in, unpacking, painting walls, putting the bed together and stuff like that. Well, the downside of behaving like a teenager is that one moment you're looking at a vintage car and the next you wake up in a cage in someone's house, being fattened up for slaughter. How many times has that happened to you? I know that's it's almost a monthly event for me.
Well, for Richard Rubens, it's his first time, and he's not a happy bunny. He quickly realises he's a captive, and he's not going to take that lying down.
It becomes clear that Richard is being held by a husband and wife who are heavily influenced by tribal customs, including shamanistic magic, and that Richard is slated for the dinner table.
For some reason the wife has an interest in keeping Richard alive, a reason that is never fully explored. When the husband leaves on a business trip, Richard attempts to work on his relationship with the wife to gain escape. What follows is more of a psychological thriller rather than a horror movie. This film is firmly rooted in reality, or is it? It's never clear if what follows is the interaction of devious and twisted minds, or whether there is magic at work.
Yes, there are a few horrific scenes, but it's the mental battle of wills that grabs the viewer. A really big plus for me, in this film, is that it's filmed in well-lit rooms. I HATE films where the screen is 90% black. Here, you can see everything, and it's the normality of everything that ups the creep factor. When events unfold clearly in front of you, are you seeing reality, or the delusions of a drug-addled mind? Sadly, we have to have the inevitable twist, that doesn't really add anything to the film and the ending just fizzles out because of that.
The key to making this film work is the role of the wife and this is portrayed well. Is she a victim, a co-conspirator, the main driving force, is she insane, delusional, the sanest person in the movie, as one-dimensional as she appears, or as multi-layered as you want her to be? Here the film gets it right. For much of the film, you're never quite sure who or what the wife is and this ambiguity allows the film to work. If it hadn't been for the ending, this film would be compulsive viewing and much more popular than it is.
The cliché twist spoils what otherwise is a tense psychological journey into tribal customs and beliefs, warped through Western eyes, that would ultimately leave you wondering about how real your world is.
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