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House of Inequity

Australian, Australian New Wave Filmmakers, Festival, Horror, Review, This Week Leave a Comment

Directed by Josh Hale, House of Inequity is another Aussie indie horror that explains why stepping over the threshold of a house that doesn’t belong to you can lead to an untimely demise. See also: Charlie’s Farm or Tarnation. What is it about breaking the rules and super creepy houses that appeal to the youths today? If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that staying in your own home can be much safer!

House of Inequity kicks things off in 1978 with fugitive, Jacob Sleen (Stuart Lumsden) on the run from the police. Breaking into the titular house, Sleen slaughters the family within before cutting his own throat as part of a black mass ritual. Fast forward to the present and the house of inequity is talked about in hushed whispers on the internet.

For teenager Denny (Parker Little), having lost his parents, online true crime forums have become his second home. So, when his brother Henry (Todd Leigh) suggests going on a road trip to look at the old murder house and take a few piccies, Denny can’t believe his luck. Things go as well as you can expect for the brothers and their friends, when the house turns out be haunted by some very nasty spirits.

The gang become trapped and forced to watch (via an old TV) each other succumbing to a bloody and pulpy kind of death – kind of like Gogglebox for sadists. It’s here that Hale is clearly having a whale of a time, thrashing out vicious little scares on a modicum of a budget.

This is very much for the Hostel crowd, who want to be grabbed by the throat in their horror. The equivalent of a showbag, House of Inequity attempts to offer a little something for everyone, from killer clowns, haunted paintings, and violence-coated daddy issues. While not every scare lands brilliantly, the conveyer belt manner in which everything happens means the next act of violence might be the one that sends a shiver up your spine.

House of Inequity does suffer from pacing issues, particularly in the first act as Hale goes to great pains to ensure we care for the lambs as they go to the slaughter. Not the worst crime in the world, but some may be impatient for the claret to spill. Overall, for its faults, this is an impressive debut and is sure to find an extremely appreciative audience.

House of Inequity screened at the 2021 Gold Coast Film Festival.
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WRIGHT: New Blood

WA Fashion brand WRIGHT is known for challenging the norm. They have done this again in their latest film project Watch The World Go By.
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Bloodshot Heart

Australian, Australian New Wave Filmmakers, Festival, Review, This Week Leave a Comment

Bloodshot Heart is an Australian feature from first-time director Parish Malfitano, led on-screen by co-producer Richard James Allen (as Hans), Dina Panozzo (as Catherine, Hans’ mother) and Emily David (as Matilda). In this tale of mystery and obsession, middle-aged driving instructor, Hans, is stifled in love by his overprotective mother. He sees his escape plan in Matilda, a musician who arrives to rent a room in their apartment, and a blur of infatuation, eroticism and violence ensues.

Bloodshot Heart opens with Super 8 footage paired with a beautifully evocative score (Ola Turkiewicz). We’re obviously seeing Hans’ past, but was it real?

Throughout the film, the viewer revises and questions what they’ve just seen, and it’s that lingering sense of dread that makes this story of obsession and delusion so interesting.

Heavily influenced by Italian horror of the 1960s, the unusual mix of genre in Bloodshot Heart makes for a surprising cinematic journey and one that is quite rare for an Australian production. Ola Turkiewicz’s score is a highlight, especially when paired with Matt Perrott’s sound design. Both are given the time they deserve in colour-filled, dialogue-free moments, particularly in the film’s first half.

Not long into the piece, Matilda is introduced. She’s filling the apartment’s spare room, and Hans is fascinated from the outset. There’s more to their relationship – or is there?

Behind a closed door, Hans whispers, ‘please stay this time’ and the genre juts back into classic horror; with a hint of Hitchcock’s Psycho, it could be assumed that this is a story about a struggling Freudian duo. In a way it is, but the mother’s character never quite develops past the point of accessory. She’s not quite as devious as Malfitano initially sets up, but actively blocking the potential romantic match, so Hans has to think outside the box to win Matilda’s love. A cunning, violent plan is hatched, and it’s here that the film starts to gain momentum.

Bloodshot Heart is a gritty but fun celebration of film, made with obvious love and passion for the craft. What’s seen as disjointed for some may just add to the adventure for others, whilst the uneven performances can be passed for kookiness of characters. The viewer is left confused and disorientated, and perhaps that’s the best indicator that, overall, Malfitano has succeeded.

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