Horror movies causing controversy is nothing new and is often par for the course. While some of the genre’s most contentious films are largely accused of being in poor taste, others, in retrospect, are often listed in the history books as some of the all-time best horror movies. Though they are raved about now, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Last House on the Left, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho caused quite the uproar in their respective eras (and some were initially X-rated).
Time will tell if it ends up becoming critically acclaimed, but one thing is for sure, The House That Jack Built is certainly divisive. Written and directed by renowned Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (writer-director, Dogville, Antichrist), the feature stars Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz, Riley Keough, and Sofie Grabol.
Rotten Tomatoes provides the premise for one of the most controversial horror movies of 2018.
“[This] upcoming drama follows the highly intelligent Jack (Matt Dillon) over a span of 12 years and introduces the murders that define Jack’s development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack’s point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork.”
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) May 25, 2017
While the premise may not seem all that controversial, the movie certainly is. As Page Six reported, over 100 people stormed out during the screening at Cannes. Dozens were groaning, many people called it disgusting, and several took to social media to express their disdain.
— Charlie Angela (@CharlieAJ) May 14, 2018
Several critics have called it inane, stupid, and tedious, while others expressed sorrow for the filmmaker. Lars has been very open about battling depression and has often expressed his anxiety through his movies (Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac are considered his “Depression Trilogy”). Many critics attribute the horror feature as another self-examination piece from Trier, and they simply feel sad for the filmmaker.
But like any true controversial picture, others are raving about it. Reportedly, those that lasted through the horror film gave it a six-minute standing ovation. Many pundits are praising the performances of the cast, and some have called the feature intelligent, artistic, and memorable.
You can get a glimpse of what’s causing these assorted reactions in the trailer below, but be warned, there are some graphic scenes (though you won’t see any children getting killed). And as far as the creator’s motivation, that may be answered in the trailer’s closing monologue.
With all its controversy — brilliant, disgusting, artistic, or otherwise — one thing is almost certain, The House That Jack Built just became one of the most highly anticipated horror movies of the year.