With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Saturday, May 30, 2015

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE

The Ladies of the House
Directed by John Stuart Wildman
Written by Justina Walford and John Stuart Wildman
2014, 93 minutes

Although it's not in any way an Asian film, The Ladies of the House is a really good grindhouse film that I enjoyed and think many AsianCineFest readers will be interested in seeing. Written by the husband and wife team of Justina Walford and John Stuart Wildman, the film marks the directorial debut of Mr. Wildman. Gravitas Ventures picked up the North American distribution rights and the movie recently became available on VOD.

The story concerns three young men and four young women. The guys have gone to a men's club to celebrate Kai's birthday. Kai (RJ Hanson) is rather obese and of limited intellectual capacity. Jacob (Gabriel Horn) is his handsome brother and Derek (Samrat Chakrabarti) is their friend who's convinced that he knows it all when it comes to women.

Derek gets the other two to agree to follow Ginger (Michelle Sinclair), one of the club's dancers, home so that Kai can have a sexual experience on his big day. See, Derek is convinced that all of her ilk are willing to have sex for money. Things don't proceed as planned and Ginger ends up getting shot.

Lin (Farah White) at work in the kitchen

Her three housemates, who also work at the club, arrive home before the guys can leave. Discovering the wounded  Ginger, they effectively have the guys trapped inside the house. This doesn't bode well for the guys as the women have some very strange and creepy -- not to mention bloody -- predilections when it comes to men.

Lin (Farah White) and Getty (Melodie Sisk) are lovers, while Crystal (Brina Palencia) is a sweet thing who has a somewhat innocent fondness for men. They have a "special" room in the house that harbors some terrifying secrets.

So it goes without saying that the The Ladies of the House follows some of the conventions of the grindhouse genre. But -- and this is really where it shines -- it subverts some of the viewers' expectations and keeps them guessing. Sure, you know there's going to be a significant body count, but just who's going to be left standing remains in doubt right until the end.

The Ladies of the House is smart, sexy and psychologically harrowing. It's a credit to the husband and wife co-writers and a fine directorial debut for Wildman.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; very solidly recommended

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