House tells the story of Kreiner and Fleiss, two Nazi soldiers marching a Norwegian prisoner of war through the wilds of Norway in the dead of winter. They become worried that the elements will kill them before they can meet up with their extraction team so when they spot a house on the edge of the woods, the soldiers decide to take the house for their own. The house appears to be empty but they soon learn that they are not alone.
Have you ever seen a movie where the Nazis aren’t the bad guys? Me either. I mean, yeah, they’re actual Nazis but that’s not really the focus of the film. They’re not out there doing experiments and creating zombies or raising occult weird shit from a hidden Germanic ritual spot. Nope. Just a couple of WWII guys doing war shit. They’re kind of dicks to Rune, their prisoner, and Fleiss is way more of a “true believer” than the elder Kreiner. Overall, though, they’re just dudes dealing with a shitty war, shitty weather, and a scary ass house.
The House lets you know pretty early on that there’s more going on than your standard haunted house in the middle of nowhere bit. They find a book with the story of how they came to be in the house written in it and while they think it’s a little strange, they decide that odd coincidences are preferable to the harsh winter of Norway. More and more details surface and they soldiers find that they are stuck in a loop of madness and suffering. The descent into madness is handled really well. First Fleiss thinks he’s losing his mind and then Kreiner is pretty sure Fleiss is losing it and, shortly thereafter, shit really hits the fan. I don’t want to get too deeply into it because the journey that this film takes you on is too good to spoil.
There’s more to like about this movie than just a well executed story. The characters are fleshed out pretty well, and the performances are really solid. The cinematography is great; the interior scenes are well lit and the outdoor scenes beautifully drive home the cold bleakness of not only the area but the situation. The tense and brooding atmosphere of the film is built organically; you can really feel the dread in The House. Along with being well shot, the few special effects used in this film are really well done.
One thing I found interesting about this movie is a pair of runes that shows up over and over again. It’s on a door that they really don’t want to open as well as on the book I mentioned above. I’m not a rune expert but I found it pretty intriguing that these two runes were together seeing as how one means “joy” and the other means “ulcer”. There’s an Old Norwegian poem that says “Ulcer is fatal to children. Death makes the corpse pail.” Maybe it says something about the entity in the house maybe it just looked cool. Hell I don’t know. I just thought it was worth mentioning.
All in all, would I recommend this film? Yeah I would. It’s a cold, bleak, haunted house movie with a few interesting twists. The guy who directed this, Reinert Kiil, also directed the movie Christmas Blood that I loved so much. I’m not sure if it’s just his style or if it’s a regional thing but both of these movies share the same kind of atmosphere. The House comes to American audiences March 5th from distributed by the mighty Artsploitation Films. You can preoder your copy here.