Written and directed by Wes Craven, this is truly a VERY strange film. In it, we have a boy named Fool (I’m very serious, I’m not good enough to make this up) whose family is being evicted for being three days late with the rent. The landlords turn out to be owners of many different properties around town, so they have money. Fool gets talked into breaking into the landlord’s house with two adult, yet very stupid, men in order to steal a gold coin collection they are known to have. Easy in and out job, right?
No. This is Wes Craven we’re talking about.
While in the house, Fool discovers that these landlords are not the typical neighborhood couple. Frankly, they are an incestuous brother/sister couple that keep kidnapped and mutilated people in the cellar. Some of the victims are salesmen, some boys the couple had kidnapped, etc. All men though. They are searching for the perfect boychild. They DO have the gold coins though. There’s also a girl, Alice, who does NOT live in the cellar but has her own room. She is horribly abused and never gets to leave the house. But, the alternative seems to be getting your tongue cut out or limbs cut off and being tossed into the cellar so, choice made I suppose.
The two men that break into the house with Fool don’t make it.
Fool does, however, build a bond with not only Alice but a boy named Roach (aptly named because he can get out of the cellar and move around the house through the walls). After a whirlwind of trouble and trauma, Fool is able to escape but, Alice is too afraid and ends up getting left behind.
But, Fool makes a promise to go back for her. He formulates a plan and slyly works his way back into the house unbeknownst to the couple. He distracted them by calling the police on them for child-abuse. This type of call takes a while to investigate so, he had a little time. He breaks Alice free and they are almost caught several times. They seek what refuge they can in the cellar and walls of the house.
Through some quick thought and slippery manipulation, they end up defeating the couple and saving almost all the people in the cellar. Fool saves Alice and also ends up with enough money to pay the rent.
Of course, there is more to the story than that. But I don’t want to tell you EVERYTHING. Depending on where you look on the internet this is listed as a horror/comedy or horror/thriller. Honestly, I think it falls somewhere in between. It wasn’t really funny enough to make me actually laugh but, there was definitely a slight air of sarcasm throughout the whole thing.
I will say the creep factor was pretty good. I didn’t think the “people under the stairs” were all that creepy but, hey, I wasn’t there. I thought the couple were the two weirdest and creepiest characters. I mean, talk about all kinds of whacked out. And they’ve got this obsession with “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Plus, like truly devoted kidnappers and abusers, these people have padlocks on every door, every window, they have a metal door that looks like it’s for a bomb shelter as their back door. Totally crazy people. Oh, and the husband/brother (eewww), when he gets really pissed and wants to kill someone, dresses up in a full body S&M black vinyl suit that, when all the pieces are put on, covers him head to toe. (I swear, I DO NOT want to what else they use that suit for, yuck!)
The movie was still entertaining. I wasn’t watching the clock counter wondering when it was going to be over. That’s always a plus. I could even watch it again probably, if I was with someone who hadn’t seen it. But, when I saw that comedy was in the description, I kind of expected it to be funnier. But, that’s okay. I still enjoyed it. I think Wes Craven fans would like it. I think general horror fans would think it was okay and entertaining. As long as you aren’t expecting something like true horror. This isn’t really like that. It’s not full comedy or satirical but, it’s not what I would call full on horror either. Like I said, it’s somewhere in between.