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Monday, November 23, 2015

THE LAST HOUSE -- DVD Review by Porfle

Described as a "psycho-sexual thriller", THE LAST HOUSE, a.k.a. "Breath of Hate" (2015) wants to be deep and maybe even a little avant-garde--in addition to being violent and perversely sexy--but doesn't quite have the finesse to pull it off.

CLERKS' Jason Mewes (ZOMBIE HAMLET, SILENT BUT DEADLY) is Ned, a lovesick schlub trying to convince his hooker heartthrob Love (Lauren Walsh, MEET THE SPARTANS) to quit the business and be his one-guy gal.  But when Love finally goes to her pimp to serve notice, Sonny (Jack Forcinito, SILENT NIGHT, ZOMBIE NIGHT) strongly insists that she go on one final job with two other hookers to a swanky mansion where a wild sex party is to be held.  Reluctantly, Love agrees.

Bad idea, since we've already seen the three psychotic squatters occupying the mansion do away with a lady realtor (SLEEPAWAY CAMP's Felissa Rose in a brief, thankless cameo), and it's obvious their idea of "party" will prove unpleasant for the three unsuspecting working girls.

There's Cleb (Ricardo Gray), an excitable young black dude whose "crazy happy" mood, we're told, must be seen to be believed; Selma (Monique Parent, THE PERFECT HOUSE), a wickedly dominant sex bomb; and "Hate" (Ezra Buzzington), the oily, enigmatic, and endlessly verbose ringleader of the tawdry trio.  Once this dubious situation gets into full swing, THE LAST HOUSE becomes a round-robin series of sexual trainwrecks. 

Cleb, we discover, likes cheerleaders.  In fact, he thinks they look good enough to eat--literally.  He's also partial to heating up half a canteloupe in the microwave and then making love to it AMERICAN PIE-style, and when these two scenarios are edited together the confusion is compounded when Love suddenly shows up and starts hacking away at him with a butcher knife.  Or does she?

Meanwhile, some of the film's kinkier deeds are performed in the upstairs bedroom when Selma has her way with the other hooker in a mistress-slave scenario that includes spanking, toe-sucking, and other sleazy sex stuff that skirts the boundaries of "softcore" before turning baseball-bat violent and, for me anyway, baffling.

But the most perplexing part comes when we watch our heroine Love in an increasingly troublesome tryst with "Hate", which starts out creepy and just gets worse, until he starts to live up to his name and she finds herself in grave peril. 

Which sounds straightforward enough, but is anything but because this film, remember, wants to be some kind of sleazy art film with its jumbled timelines and rambling monologues. 

Despite his on-the-nose moniker, Hate reminds me mainly of an evil David Spade--not very menacing, even when his true nature starts to bleed through.  The story gets progressively strange as characters die, live again, kill, get killed, etc. and we see a variety of flashbacks, flash-forwards, dreams that foretell the future, alternate outcomes, and other timeline-fiddling. While all this is going on, Ned is busy trying to track down Love by haunting the strip club where she works and going head to head with Sonny.

Jason Mewes handles his role well enough but it's Lauren Walsh as Love who's the real standout here.  Monique Parent is meant to be wickedly sexy, which is something she could do without breaking a sweat.  As Hate, Ezra Buzzington gets an "A" for effort although I never found the character as intriguing or mysterious as intended.  Jack Forcinito is sleaze personified as the pimp Sonny, whose main concern is his miniature pet turtle. 

The DVD from WildEye Releasing is widescreen with Dolby Digital sound.  No subtitles.  Bonus features consist of a writer and director commentary, deleted scenes, a Cinemayhem Film Festival director interview, and the film's London premiere at the Gorezone Film Festival.

While some members of the cast double as prolific porn stars, THE LAST HOUSE is more thriller and less sleaze than the synopsis might lead you to believe. I didn't find it all that thrilling, either, but I must give the filmmakers credit for trying something different. 

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