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It’s been well over a decade since Neil LaBute plagued audiences with his remake of The Wicker Man. Not that I’m biased, mind.

His latest endeavour, House of Darkness boasts two strong leads in Kate Bosworth and Justin Long in what could be described as incredibly long foreplay but the question is who is playing who?

There is more than sexual interplay going on here though as something dark is lurking beneath the surface tipping the balance of power.

Hap (Long) believes that he has scored big time when escorting the beautiful-yet-mysterious Mina (Bosworth) home after hooking up with her at a local bar. After fumbling with the kind of uncomfortable dialogue that comes with trying to impress and not offend in order to make some kind of headway, they head back to Mina’s place which just so happens to be a glorious mansion.

This gives Hap some bragging rights to his mate over the phone during one of the moments of lull between him and Mina. This point in time signifies a window into Hap’s character, not so clean cut and innocent as he portrays to be. What draws you into House of Darkness is the clever use of seductive interaction with two characters willing to walk the line of flirtation but harbouring secrets that may or may not arise. These characters are embellished by the knife’s edge of pleasure and pain, and as an audience not knowing which way we are being lead nor how the night will end.

The prognosis:

There’s fun being directed here with the awkwardness that comes with dating or hooking up with someone. It’s always a dalliance of desire but where LaBute leads the seductive dance is through a sinister playground where manipulation is always afoot. The power dynamic between Long and Bosworth is mesmerising, luring the audience in with every beat of dialogue.

If you have the patience, let it run its course, because the climax to House of Darkness has a  beautiful send off to a well crafted script.

– Saul Muerte

House of Darkness is currently available via Defiant Screen Entertainment across home entertainment outlets* listed below:

DIGITAL PLATFORMS – Apple TV App, Foxtel Store, Fetch,
Google TV, Prime Video, Telstra TV Box Office, YouTube Movies
DISC RETAILERS – JB Hi-Fi, Sanity, Big W, Amazon.com.au

*Title availability may vary.