House in the Alley follows Thanh and Thao, a young successful couple living in Saigon about to begin a new happy chapter in their lives, parenthood. However, that dream becomes a nightmare, with the violent death of their son.
Thanh begins to see a drastic change in Thao, and becomes concerned. She is withdrawn, compulsive, and prone to hallucination. But he can only do his best, also handling a major crisis with his business.
Their house itself changes. Scratches appear on walls, furniture is vandalized, something is haunting them. Wracked with guilt and isolated, Thao is convinced their son is cursing them from the grave. Thao becomes almost unrecognizable as the paranormal takes over her body. Tormented by the thought of losing his wife, Thanh searches for clues to the history behind their house past, uncovering a secret many hoped to forget.
A friend of mine interning at a film marketing and distribution company (Pathfinder Film LTD) asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a Vietnamese film that they had picked up for distribution. I took a peek at the trailer that my friend sent me and I thought that the movie showed promise and I took him up on his offer.
And I’m here to say that I am glad that I did.
One type of movies that I’m always hunting for are those that bring something new to the table. No remakes, no reboots, and no re-imaginings. This movie gave me that. One of the most interesting facets of this film is watching the mental deterioration of the wife and the simultaneous physical and mental deterioration of the husband. The continuing reminder of their baby’s death (they kept the coffin in their living room) helps in tearing down their sanity, but then the house itself has a dark history.
I know that some of you are wondering what would set this movie apart from other “haunting” type of movies, and I think the answer lies in the psychological take on the tragedy along with the haunted house. There isn’t a dependence on goofy jump scares, but there is an actual plot. Not to mention, this movie actual accomplishes something that a lot of Hollywood horror movies fail in: developing characters that an audience actually care about.
While I do think there is a lot to enjoy with this movie, there are a few flaws. The movie does take a long time getting to the point, but this slow burn approach will work well for some viewers.
Overall, I would give this movie a 7 out of 10. If you are interested to find something new to watch, take a peek at this movie. You might find something new and original. Take a look at the trailer below and see if it captures your interest. If you check it out, let me know here!
Thanks Chris Villalba for giving me the opportunity to watch and review this movie!