ABJECT (aka: This house is made of flesh and my mouth is the door) Movie Review
ABJECT (aka: This house is made of flesh and my mouth is the door) Movie Review Metadata
In ABJECT (aka This house is made of flesh and my mouth is the door)(2022) (Oh yes, you know exactly what kind of movie this is), two people (Helena Simon and Joe Gallagher) who clearly hate each other, spend a week getting on each other’s nerves in order to save their marriage (sure). The world’s worst pop-psychologist/therapist (Andy Rich) illegally prescribes “mild psychotropics” in an unsupervised atmosphere full of sharp objects, stairs, and acres of forest to help them get through their issues. Or murder each other. It’s as empty and irresponsible as it sounds. Husband (it’s his character’s name – how fun!) self-medicates with booze and Wife helps herself to a week’s worth of hallucinogens inside of six hours, so the overall effect is probably going for “razor’s edge of untethered reality OR supernatural”.
But apparently, no firm decision was made on the effect it was going for.
In the hands of a seasoned writer and director, ABJECT could feel like a 60s giallo throwback. With disembodied voices singing lullabies, a stark color palette, shocking violence, and abrupt image cuts, you could almost believe you were watching an Italian Master.
But no one can get that inebriated and live.
I’m going to save you an hour and 15 minutes because ABJECT fails in the most abstract, high-concept, art-house horror manner possible.
You’re welcome. I accept tributes in chocolate and good bourbon.
One part Don’t Look Now (1973), 10 seconds Antichrist (2009), one part interpretive dance, and several parts Sudden Loud Noises That Aren’t Scary But That’s All We Got, ABJECT is a tortured family drama. Two people in a house repulsed by each other’s presence while surrounded by their guilt and unabsolved sins is a story an audience could get behind if there was some sort of reason to root for the couple on-screen. There isn’t. We don’t know what brings them to the Cabin in the Woods (we want to burn to the ground with them in it) and we don’t find out for 50 minutes.
50 minutes to watch two people with zero chemistry glare at each other over plates of congealed spaghetti, or stomp up and down the stairs, or look out a window.
50 minutes of 75.
Is there an eldritch cult connection as alluded to on the poster art?
Spoiler alert – no.
There is, however, a weird sex scene with a tentacle that is not only not explained, it happens twice. Here you begin to think writer-director David Williams (stylized as david r williams) may have procured actors and filmmaking equipment under false pretenses.
Here’s what’s necessary for intimate horror movies – likable characters, a compelling story, action that propels the plot, and actors that drive the emotional conflict to connect the audience to the screen. Classics like Rear Window (1954) and Wait Until Dark (1967), as well as modern horror like Saw (2004) and Hard Candy (2005) present a limited number of characters with big stories that captivate and dare the audience to look away.
ABJECT is 0/4. It’s two people in a house in desperate need of a home invasion. Or a bear mauling.
I don’t think I would have enjoyed ABJECT even if my screener wasn’t rife with technical issues. The sound mixing made it perfect to watch with subtitles if the subtitles had been matched and synced to the movie. The dialogue is all whispers and mumbles when it wasn’t Loud Slamming Doors, Babies Crying, and Disembodied Shrieking. These things do not make a horror movie. This is a Tuesday night at my old apartment complex.
Please be advised, in ABJECT there are multiple scenes with strobe effects and it would have been nice to get a warning somewhere in the press notes. If the strobe effects don’t make you nauseated, the handheld camera work that I think is supposed to create an atmosphere of intimacy and closeness (while screaming I’M AN AUTEUR) will definitely unsettle the strongest stomach.
ABJECT is talky, meandering, and brimming with pretentious camerawork not even the edgiest of iPhone directors would lay claim to. It’s 75 minutes that wouldn’t even work better as a short film of ten minutes. ABJECT may have been the emotion the director was going for, but he’s not getting this reaction the way he intended.
ABJECT (AKA This house is made of flesh and my mouth is the door) 2022, is unrated, but give it a hard R for swears, tentacle sex, people vomiting, people getting strangled, and people wandering off naked into the woods to die.