Taking its setting and mise en scene from classic gothic ghost stories, The House of Violent Desire is a mashup of ideas.
A family living in a gigantic mansion are given a shock when their mysterious father goes missing and a man appears and sets about changing their lives. The dynamic of the family works quite well and after an abrupt introduction they interact and blend quite well.
We begin with what feels like a lot of warnings from numerous characters about the dangers of the house which do initially take away the sting factor, whereas when the scenes do the talking it makes it all the more creepy.
On the surface ‘Violent Desire’ is very much a psychosexual horror, as the man goes about seducing its inhabitants, unearthing their own desires for his own benefit.
The house itself becomes a character and is a truly stunning set, which when lit well can send a chill down your spine. Director Charlie Steeds has clearly seen classics such as Nosferatu and looks to employ shadow in key scenes, which when blended with its classic gothic theme are very effective.
With budget constraints Steeds looks to employ mood and much as possible and you can envision scenes that would have been tainted by special effects; this is very much a period piece.
It is slightly bloated at around 1 hour 50 minutes, with not everyone’s narrative maybe necessary but the story peels away like an onion and there are some unexpected twists which will shock you.
The House of Violent Desire offers something different which offers another angle on the haunted house narrative.