The House with 100 Eyes (2013)

Rating: B

Dir: Jay Lee, Jim Roof
Star: Jim Roof, Shannon Malone, Larissa Lynch, Liz Burghdorf

Snuff movie-maker Ed (Roof) and his equally-deranged wife Susan (Malone) have decided to make their magnum opus. A triple-killing in their house, which has been converted into an inescapable fortress, wired for sound and vision in every room. To this end, and after a few false starts trying to acquire talent for their new production, they bring in three young ‘strays’: Jamie (Lynch), Crystal (Burghdorf) and Clutch (Andew Hopper). Initially, the trio think it’s just going to be a porn film, but when one of them has second thoughts, they soon discover the fate Ed and Sue have in store for them: “You’re already dead,” says the latter in response to a plea for freedom. However, the shoot doesn’t go quite the way Ed wanted, and in a fit of rage, he makes a mistake that could be his undoing – which, in this company, is likely to be a fatal error.

This started off looking like it was going to be more found-footage pseudo-snuff, along the lines of dreck like the Amateur Porn Star Killer series. Fortunately, in terms of both style and content, that was soon dispelled in favor of something much more disturbing: in fact, the words “This is supremely fucked-up” passed my lips on more than one occasion. The two leads are genuinely scary: Ed can calmly discuss the tactics and methods one minute, then erupt into psychotic rage the next, and there are enough hints about Susan’s past to make it possible she may actually be the more lethal of the two, simply because she can appear so absolutely normal, almost maternal at times. In some ways, this is an example of the much-derided “torture porn”, though the actual torture is more mental than physical, even if a sequence involving a nail is still pretty harrowing. There’s an impressively sick and twisted creativity at work here, with elements which will stick in the mind for a lot longer than many of its colleagues.