Sold at a brothel deep in the woods to work as a caretaker, a hapless deaf girl must summon the courage to fight for her life.Sold at a brothel deep in the woods to work as a caretaker, a hapless deaf girl must summon the courage to fight for her life.Sold at a brothel deep in the woods to work as a caretaker, a hapless deaf girl must summon the courage to fight for her life.
A darkly tense revenge thriller, laced with a palpable sense of menace.
In the directorial debut of special effects guru Paul Hyatt, young actress Rosie Day plays Angel, a deaf and mute girl who sees her family brutally murdered before she is dragged to the eponymous Seasoning House, where kidnapped girls are forced to into prostitution for soldiers of a bleak and senseless Balkan war. The first half of the film has a very dream-like quality to it, as Angel, who is enslaved to care for the prostituted girls, performs her daily routine of doping the victims, and then cleaning them up after they have suffered the soldiers often disturbingly brutal attentions. Hyatt has said he was heavily influenced by Pan's Labyrinth, and it certainly shows in this half as Angel silently wanders the seasoning house and we glimpse the world as she senses, or more accurately, doesn't sense it. But when ruthless soldier Goran, played by Sean Pertwee, and his men arrive on the scene, the same soldiers responsible for murdering Angel's family, she takes drastic action and the film swerves from darkly depressing, to a taut, tense and brutal game of cat and mouse. Rosie Day does well in the lead role, her character, subdued and distant in the beginning, shows signs of life as she recalls memories of her family, slowly bonds with one of the prostitutes who fortuitously knows sign language, and eventually comes to her aid as she suffers horrifically at the hands of one of Goran's men, the monstrous Ivan, while Goran himself is a fittingly cruel and tenacious main villain. The savage scenes of rape in the first half are offset by the brutal acts of revenge and survival in the second, each accompanied, as you would expect, by some great visual effects, but while the film is engaging throughout and comes to a satisfying conclusion, it felt slightly disjointed and meandered in places. However, that doesn't ever detract from the overall tone of the film, darkly foreboding and laced with a palpable sense of menace, it's a tense and disturbing ride.
- Aug 23, 2012
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