FILM REVIEW: HOUSEWIFE
Director: Can Evrenol
Writers: Can Evrenol, Cem Özüduru
Starring: Clémentine Poidatz, Ali Aksöz, David Sakurai, Alicia Kapudag, Defne Halman, Ömer Naci Gülalp, Zuri Zen, Resit Berker Enhos
Release Date: October 2, 2018
In a public restroom with the door guarded by friend Valerie (Alicia Kapudag), Holly (Clémentine Poidatz) squats in the sink to relieve herself. This is not the first time in Housewife we’ve seen Holly use a sink instead of a toilet, even when a toilet is right next to her.
As a child Holly witnesses her sister’s murder at the hands of her mother; drowned in toilet water until limp. Later that same night as young Holly hides behind curtains, grasping onto a pointy umbrella, she then witnesses the stabbing of her father.
And mother shouts “Go away visitors!”
Where there is only metaphor and nothing else grounding a plot in reality, viewers easily become confused as they are not in the mind of the creator. Director Can Evrenol knows this but does not care to expand upon it. Here we find Evrenol’s signature; one that was effectively in control when he brought us his freshmen vision, Baskin.
Present day Holly and husband Tim (Ali Aksöz), and their relationship to friend and ex-roommate Valerie, unfolds quickly when Valerie arrives unannounced at Holly and Tim’s house on the eve of much anticipated seminar called ULM (Umbrella of Love and Mind).
After little convincing the trio sets forth to the seminar where they meet up with another couple who is also intrigued by its leader Bruce O’Hara (David Sakurai). Here we discover those in attendance desire to be part of “the family” an intimate group of O’Hara’s closest devotees.
Before long as all in the crowd clap, cheer, hoot and holler their praise for their dreamy cult leader, we see Bruce turn his attention to one special guest who is apparently garnering all his energy. This energy of course is directed at Holly who appears stunned and nervous.
As Bruce speaks in riddles, Holly understands she must decide whether or not she’d be willing to revisit her painful past but is told in order to mend it she must take the entire journey or risk being lost in it forever. While Bruce’s words tell Holly she has a choice, we can’t help but to feel as though there is no choice at all.
If the story was ever linear to begin with, it is here in Housewife that chaos and confusion set in. Reality and nightmares align leaving Holly unprepared to distinguish between the two.
As I sat watching the first half of Housewife I thought I knew something others would not pick up on quickly. I was pulled in by Holly’s background story and giddily watched the slow burn play out. The second act I thought to myself, will surely blow us all away. This is the Can Evrenol signature of storytelling I knew!
The second act began and ended still holding fire to its slow burn. Maybe the boom is in the third and final act, I thought to myself. It will be short and sweet but obviously it’s going to leave me jaw-dropped.
Needless to say the frantic energy Evrenol created in Baskin, where he so beautifully changes course from a creepy slow burn to a nightmarish frenzy, easily contrived by the twisted mind of Clive Barker himself, unfortunately never materializes in Housewife. That’s not to say the movie doesnt pick up and get more chaotic. It does. The payoff however doesn’t offer enough bang for the slow burn we patiently wait through.