Once upon a time… after meeting at a bar, Hap (Justin Long) offers to take things to the next step and drives his date, Mina (Kate Bosworth), home. The film begins with Hap driving into Mina’s driveway and discovering that she lives in a big castle, to his surprise. Hap’s hoping his casual meet-up at a bar will lead to something else, perhaps in the bedroom department. Mina’s intentions are kept far more secretive and vague, which only keeps Hap curious to know more about her.
As the two enter the home, they share various discussions, learning more about each other while sharing a few more drinks. We discover that Hap continues to reveal more than Mina, including letting slip that he has been known to tell the odd fib here and there occasionally. Hap also learns that Mina is wealthy, which only excites him more and more about his possible hook-up. The flirtation between the two continues throughout the night; however, what begins as a sexy hook-up becomes something more unexpected and surprising.
House of Darkness is best described as a thriller with some minor moments of horror. The film begins with an exciting mystery, and the audience will starts to question the true motives of both leads, especially Mina. The movie is extremely dialogue-heavy as Hap and Mina exchange various conversations. After all, they are a new couple getting to know each other, and both are attempting to trust one another. In the midst of all this, Hap thinks he’s about to have one of the best hook-ups of his life and brags about this opportunity to one of his friends on a mobile phone. But as an audience, we know something isn’t quite right with this situation, and Hap fails to see the warning signs.
The biggest pleasure of this film is the dialogue and watching the evening unfold. The dialogue between the leads feels genuine from start to finish. There’s a nice flow, and the characters themselves are convincing, especially Hap, who is focused on only one thing and will attempt to weasel his way to try and get it. While watching things unfold brings great joy, I was saddened to find the film’s final moments were both predictable and rushed in its conclusion and offers little reward given the investment and duration spent with audiences.
Visually, I felt this film was wonderful. Firstly, the location is an absolute treat, and it sets the right tone of mystery. It’s dark yet intense in its colours and sharpness. Emotions and spoken lines of dialogue are captured at an enjoyable pace. Even if you’re confident about how the film will end, there’s still a high level of enjoyment based on the dialogue, performances and solid filming style alone.
As a thriller with a large amount of dialogue and a small cast, I found this film rather enjoyable from start to finish. The dialogue feels convincing, authentic and snappy, and visually, this film is terrific, including the setting, which is located at a large castle. The final moments, however, provide little reward as they are predictable and rushed and lack a conclusion that could have left viewers on a high. Even if the ending is evident, there are still plenty of elements to enjoy within this creepy story.