The Perfect House (2010)
Before I begin I wanna make something clear right from the start: THE PERFECT HOUSE is not a rip off of the TV show, AMERICAN HORROR STORY. As we’ll see, there are similar themes going on (mainly the violent history of a house), but THE PERFECT HOUSE was made a year before AMERICAN HORROR STORY hit our TV’s. This being said, THE PERFECT HOUSE is an horror anthology that examines the violent and evil history of the titular. Is the house itself evil, or does it just have shitty luck getting really batshit-crazy people living in it?
The wrap around story is itself multilayered. In the pre-credit sequence we follow a family from 2005 as they join their neighbor (who lives in the titular house) for dinner. The neighbor/host Mr. Sullivan (Dustin Stevens) asks his guest Steve (Chris Raab) when he plans on returning his weed-whacker that he borrowed a while back. Steve proceeds to tell Jeff that he threw that piece of crap away and by doing so, “Did you a favor.” The reaction on Mr. Sullivan’s face is classic: He didn’t much care for that answer and really, apparently, loved that weed-whacker. Mr. Sullivan goes apeshit-crazy and then we cut away to the opening credits. This was a great opening that really grabbed me and immediately got me involved in the plot. I wanted to see what Jeff was gonna do next!!
The other “layer” of the wrap around story involves Mike (William A. Robertson) and Mirasol (Andrea Vahl), a young just-married couple looking to make the titular house their first home together. This story takes place in the present day, and as the real estate agent (Monique Parent) guides them through the house, the couple starts to experience some of said house’s past horrors through strange visions. This is where THE PERFECT HOUSE becomes an anthology.
The first story flashes back to 1969 where we meet a dysfunctional family as they gather in the basement to protect themselves against a brutal storm. The family’s dysfunctions soon become amplified by the confines of the basement and we get to witness first hand the various tensions reach their boiling point. This is the most subtle of the stories but is also one of the most twisted. This is one fucked up family that explodes into one violent ending. The actors did a nice job in their roles; they played their characters with enough subtly in the beginning that really threw me off as to just how screwed up they all were. I also liked the choice of filming this segment in black and white. Nice touch.
The second story takes place in 1986 and is probably the weakest in the anthology. In it a female victim (Holly Greene) is being held captive in a small cage that’s bolted into the floor of the “Perfect House” by a psychopath, John Doesy (Jonathan Tiersten). The psycho brings in various victims and torments them and uses the female victim as his audience. This one just didn’t do it for me. The story felt as though it dragged a bit and Greene just wasn’t up to the task as the victim and wasn’t a strong enough actress to pull the role off. This segment also gets very ‘talky’ and rather tedious.
THE PERFECT HOUSE then concludes by revisiting the family from the pre-credit sequence. We now join them as they’re tied up in their hosts’ home, and you won’t believe what their friendly neighbor has planned for them. This is perhaps the most fun of all the segments and is definitely the goriest. Felissa Rose (it’s great to see her again) plays the mother of the doomed family and tries to summon the strength to survive the tortures she and her family are being put through. Strong acting by all (with the exception of the daughter, Jamie Baker) and the neighbor, Mr. Sullivan, plays the role beautifully. He’s friggin’ insane, but Stevens never crosses the line and makes his character comical or ridiculous. Stevens plays the role perfectly.
THE PERFECT HOUSE is an all around solid movie. The stories move along at a nice pace and the acting, with a few exceptions, is fantastic. The framing story is what really brings everything together here and the gore in the final segment is both really juicy, very plentiful, creative, and well-done. I enjoyed the overall theme of, “Do you ever really know your neighbor?”, and the fact that a discarded weed whacker was a major plot point was a terrific touch!! This isn’t a perfect film but it’s definitely one you’ll enjoy. Check this one out.
Directors: Kris Hulbert & Randy Kent (Hulbert also wrote the script)
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 6.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer