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This triptych offering from three of Britain’s independent scene is a mixed bag, as these projects often tend to be. However, dealing primarily with issues of sex and horror, all three shorts do at least strive to bring something new to the table, albeit with varying degrees of success.
Promising director Sean Hogan’s opening act, ‘House & Home’, is a simple, direct tale of a awkward middle class couple with Christian leanings, who only enjoy getting their sexual kicks from debasing the poor and destitute. Upon trapping their latest victim they then encounter something not bargained for. It’s fairly pedestrian, but the denouement does at least challenge class structures and opposes so-called clean living Christian values.
The second section by acclaimed director of recent British independent takes on the zombie genre offers a bizarre tongue-in-cheek story of a Doctor concocting an old Nazi experiment through the harvesting the semen of mutated humans (a humorously large surgically attached penis to innocent victims) creating a powerful, telepathic drug. It’s a little stomach turning, for obvious reasons, but again at least tries to add depth by showing characters involved through the production line (the mutated monsters - the drug guinea pigs - the traders of organs for the Doctors monster - and the cold-hearted Doctor himself) mirrors corrupt trading systems, from pharmaceutical companies to street drug dealing.
What lets the first two parts down is the often poor delivery by its performers, never allowing us any emotional connection. Certainly not the case with Rumley’s brilliant final piece, whose previous features (particularly The Living & the Dead and the recent Red, White & Blue) have impressed and agitated the viewer by portraying human characteristic to it full potential. The final act tells of a couple who live a BDSM lifestyle, albeit with a bias of abuse towards the male. When things go to far the relationship switches and roles are reversed, bringing an ironic meaning to it’s segment title ‘Bitch’. Expertly shot, with an exceptional sound design (as always with the director), it also offers us a high degree of emotional depth, particularly in its final scene that conveys a sense of human frailty when it comes to sex that the overall project fails to deliver.
Not an entirely unsuccessful anthology then, but certainly not without its merits. If anything though, it proves the continued ability of Simon Rumley as one of the most capable British directors working in genre cinema today.