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PLAYING HOUSE is a solid mix of SWF meets OBSESSED meets THE STEPFATHER, slapped with a relatively hard R rating (language and nudity!), a surprisingly high (for a crazy chick flick) body count, and a talented cast of rather unknowns, edging it better than both OBSESSED and THE ROOMMATE, and right up there with SWIMFAN—a solid ride that’s less than perfect but gets the job done without being totally idiotic or selling out for a more family-friendly PG-13 rating. And while a rating shouldn’t make or break a movie in terms of quality, when we’re talking about a smokin’ hot crazy chick, nothing shows off how hot or how crazy she is than some gratuitous nudity and some blood-splattering violence, and PLAYING HOUSE delivers both in spades.
Of course, with a low budget, the gore is pretty limited, but there’s plenty of bloody aftermath to clean up to satisfy the imagination of the carnage that unfolds. The crazy chick in question is played by Mayra Leal, a definite looker who doesn’t mind showing off her goods—and who has a surprisingly sinister side to her when she lets her guard down. Sarah Prikryl plays the wife and lets us know from the start that she doesn’t like this biotch hanging around her house or her man, but can’t prove anything until it’s too late. Think of the Beyonce character from OBSESSED. She does a decent job and probably has the best set of acting chops than anyone else in the film. And finally, the main man, the object of said crazy chick’s desire is played by Craig Welbacher. He does an alright job, but nothing to write home about, and probably the weakest of the top three leads.
While it’s a lot of fun in the thrills department and watching this chick infiltrate this home and dig her crazy-ass fingers into everyone in the house, PLAYING HOUSE is not without its problems. For starters, the best friend with whom said crazy chick hooks up with in the beginning is a pudgy goofball—meaning, not very believable that this chick would go for him in the first place. But she’s crazy, so I guess that’s a moot point. I guess the biggest issue is the film’s pace—it’s too slow, or rather, too uneven to keep you sucked in the entire time. At only 80 minutes, this should feel fast and furious, and yet I was checking the clock as early as 45 minutes in because it felt like it had been 2 hours already. With a tighter script, more exciting music to elevate the tension and the thrills, this could have been the ultimate crazy chick flick. But once it kick-starts into the exciting conclusion, logic takes a backseat and a few stupid decisions later, and I’m scratching my head with a big ol’ WTF grin on my face. Sure, I still had a good time, but I can only suspend my belief so much. On the whole though, I had a lot more fun with PLAYING HOUSE than I thought I would have, edging into one of the more entertaining crazy chick flicks out there.
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Surround Mix is what it is, nothing more… nothing less.