Well-known as a prolific special-effects designer for the likes of Neil Marshall (he did The Descent), Paul Hyett shot his first film as a director, the revenge-horror The Seasoning House, earlier this year. It's been picking up positive word-of-mouth on the festival circuit since its world premiere at FrightFest a couple of months ago, and now here's the first full trailer, hopefully heralding a proper release at some point soon.
This trailer does a decent job of establishing the film's set-up. Taking place during a vaguely defined Balkan conflict during the 1990s, The Seasoning House of the title is an appalling facility where kidnapped girls are enslaved as prostitutes for the military. Rosie Day's Angel works in the house as a general dogsbody, having been deemed unfit for "service" because she's a deaf-mute with a facial birthmark.
Her diminutiive stature generally allows her to keep out of sight and mind, sneaking around the house through crawlspaces behind the walls. But befriending one of the girls leads to a surprising worm-turning event that sees her transformed into an unlikely agent of revenge.
Obviously, given the subject matter, it's a tough watch, but what the trailer doesn't quite get across is the woozily stoned cinematography and sound design of the first half of the film. It's a stylistically very effective way of representing Angel's shellshocked numbness, and makes the snap into the carnage that comes later all the more shocking.
Sean Pertwee plays chief bastard Goran. "I found it a really interesting project because I couldn’t categorise it," he told Empire on the set. "It’s an extraordinary visual experience, and it’s also about sound and music and vibration and how Angel perceives the world. It’s a sound editor’s dream in many respects. It’s as much about that as it is about the visuals.
"I hate it when you read actors in magazines saying, 'It’s nothing you’ve ever seen before.' But it isn't like anything you’ve ever seen before! It’s such a difficult film to categorise. It’s the harshness of reality, arriving on the doorstep of an opiated world, seen through the eyes of a deaf-mute. It’s madness! How do you put that on a poster?"
The Seasoning House doesn't have a release date anywhere so far, but maybe there'll be news from the American Film Market shortly.