Director Can Evrenol’s sophomore feature film Housewife (following 2015’s Baskin) is an enigmatic, unsettling horror outing with shades of classic Italian horror movies, H.P. Lovecraft cosmic horror, and surrealism. This Turkish arthouse horror with English dialogue is meant to provoke and puzzle, and it certainly succeeds at that, while delivering a jaw-dropping, gore-drenched third act.
As a child, Holly witnessed some traumatic events that would scar anyone for life. Now an adult, Holly (Clementine Poidatz in a stunning performance) is indeed haunted by dark, disturbing dreams — some waking, some while sleeping — of motherhood and children, secretly taking birth control while her husband publicly announces that they plan to have a baby.
Holly’s old friend Valery (Alicia Kapudag) visits the couple after disappearing suddenly and not seeing them for years. She is in town as part of a cult presentation by The Umbrella of Love and Mind. Charismatic leader Bruce O’Hara (David Sakurai) singles out Holly at the meeting as someone who needs help, beginning a relationship that will send Holly, her husband, and Valery down dark, bloody paths.
The screenplay by Evrenol and Cem Ozuduru is filled with dream logic and nightmares, and the line between Holly’s “real” world and her horrific visions becomes increasingly blurred, leaving viewers to puzzle at her fate and question what is occurring. Evrenol directs with aplomb, building suspense and mystery while leaving interpretations open to individual viewers.
Fans of Italian horror greats Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci will appreciate the nods — as opposed to outright pastiche — to these filmmakers’ work, with lighting design that instantly sets a familiar tone, but Evrenol plays with this and other Euro-horror elements of the 1970s. Rather than sticking to the tried-and-true elements of these types of films, he uses them as a springboard into a distinctly modern fright fare voice all his own. Housewife is a wild ride, and an ultimately rewarding one for cineastes who prefer some thought along with their shocks.
Housewife is now available on VOD, digital HD, and DVD in the U.S.A.
Joseph Perry is one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast (whenitwascool.com/up-hill-both-ways-podcast/) and Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast (decadesofhorror.com/category/classicera/).
He also writes for the retro pop culture website That’s Not Current (thatsnotcurrent.com), Diabolique Magazine (diaboliquemagazine.com), Gruesome Magazine (gruesomemagazine.com), Scream Magazine (screamhorrormag.com), Ghastly Grinning (ghastlygrinning.com), and several other print and online film critique and pop culture magazines.
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