A strong entry-level debut horror

by Nav Qateel

The Balkans 1996 — the militia, led by Goran (Sean Pertwee) are out on a killing spree, shooting all the adults and taking any young girls they can find. One in particular, a deaf-mute with a large facial birthmark (Rosie Day) catches the eye of Goran, who has her mother executed then takes the shocked girl with the others.

They end up in a house turned brothel, run by a rather unscrupulous character, Viktor (Kevin Howarth), who, by way of warning the girls to stay in line, slits one of the terrified teenager’s throat … realistically. I might add.

He immediately takes a shine to the deaf-mute, and names her Angel, after noticing her necklace has one attached. Viktor is a strange character indeed, as he tells Angel he loves her after raping the girl, and knocks her around after showing affection. He teaches her how to shoot the girls up with heroin to keep them docile, then clean them up after each customer has worked them over. She cooks, and also has to clean out the buckets the girls are forced to use as toilets.

The Seasoning House
Directed By
Paul Hyett
Rosie Day, Sean Pertwee, Kevin Howarth
DVD Release Date
12 August, 2013
Nav’s Grade: B+

Although she’s continually begged for help, one girl can do sign, so they begin to chat. After an unexpected visit from Goran and his men, things suddenly get very violent, after one of their number is found butchered in a locked room, with a dead girl lying on the bed. They quickly realise it’s little Angel using the air-vents to crawl about the building, so Goran angrily goes after her, with smoke bombs and guns, but this is a battle they can’t seem to win.

The directorial debut of Paul Hyett, is a surprisingly solid piece of filmmaking. With few faults that warrant much in the way of serious criticism, The Seasoning House delivers in almost every department, and when it comes time to serve up violence, it’s a no-holds-barred gore-fest, high on detail, low on moral.

The Seasoning House takes its sweet time as the exposition is laid down, but the slow pace comes at a price. However, just when you feel the glacial style is getting too much, things really pick up and then it’s non stop horror for the final two thirds. Our deaf-mute heroine also hits her stride — and a magnificent stride it is.

Hyett clearly has lots still to learn, but the promise displayed in The Seasoning House surely counts as first time success. It’s gritty and dirty, like the poor young girls who are repeatedly raped and seriously wounded by visiting neanderthals, fresh from fighting, and fueled with blood lust, we see one girl with a broken pelvis, thanks to a brutal rape, forced to continue “working,” in obvious agony.