Neil LaBute’s recent film “House of Darkness” represents a strong sentiment against misogyny. The witty atmosphere adds onto the layers of a horror/thriller narrative. Here we see a woman who provokes a man to reveal his inner beast that he has hidden at the bottom of his conscience and is too afraid to confront it because he likes to think of himself as a cultured human being. In LaBute’s “House of Darkness,” we see a man who succumbs to a woman’s seduction and becomes so mesmerized that he fails to see the dangers that await him. By becoming vulnerable to his desires, a man loses it all and brings upon his own doom.
What Happens In The ‘House of Darkness’ Film?
A middle-aged man named Hap Jackson (Justin Long) gives a lift to a lady named Mina (Kate Boseworth), far away from the city. Together, they arrive near an estate in the countryside where Mina offers Hap to come inside her house, which mostly looks like an old castle. However, Hap seems overwhelmed by such a welcome; he behaves like he is only following the hints of Mina. Mina tells him she would light up the fire, so Hap doesn’t feel the cold. Mina seemed comfortable with the freezing temperatures, though. As soon as Hap enters the room where Mina is lighting up the fire, he spots a woman standing at a distance. Moments later, he sees a mirror instead of the woman in that place. Mina tells him these things happen in old places and offers him a drink. Hap is trying to get comfortable and agrees to have the drink. Mina has told him that her family owns a couple of estates like that. Hap had no idea that the woman he met at the bar and gave a lift could be so wealthy.
When Mina leaves to get the drink for him, Hap receives a text message, probably a missed call alert. Hap calls back his friend and discusses getting laid with the woman he has picked up at the bar earlier. Mina comes back with the drink, and they start to get intimate. Mina asks Hap whether he is talking to someone or not. Hap, at first, tries to avoid the topic, stammers a bit, and then admits that he called a friend only after he got the missed call alert. Later, Mina asks him if he was married. Hap stammers again while answering this. These were the reasons why Mina started calling him a “fibber,” someone who would always come up with a ready-made story, a lie to hide the exact truth. With each passing moment, Mina convinces Hap that he wanted more from the night, like having a sexual relationship with her since he saw her for the first time at the bar. When they were too intimate, a woman suddenly arrived at the spot.
Mina introduces Hap to her sister, Lucy (Gia Crovatin). Hap is surprised as he felt they were alone in the house. Lucy explains to him that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Hap wanted to leave, but the sisters convinced him to stay for another drink. Hap could not refuse a free drink. Soon we see Hap starting to doze off, and he finds himself in a dream where he is all tied up in a chair. He got rid of all the bindings and suddenly discovered that he had been kept in a cave of some sort. There was a place piled high with the leather shoes of men. When he found an escape route, he jumped to reach out but fell and broke his left knee. Soon after, Hap woke up and saw Lucy sitting beside him. Lucy gave Hap a tour of the house, and told him that the sisters loved ghost stories. Hap joined them, and the three of them went to a different room, where Mina asked Hap to tell them a ghost story.
Hap was not a good storyteller, so he ended up describing the events of the evening so far. The sisters were not impressed. But anyway, Lucy started to tell a very dark story concerning three sisters from ancient times. Soon we are introduced to the third sister, Nora (Lucy Walters). Hap started to realize that none of this was a game, and the whole eerie dream was about to get real. He tried to escape, but the door was locked. He threatened Mina and asked her to open the door. However, he failed to escape, and the three sisters started chewing off his skin and flesh while he was alive. The film ends with a frame of the piled-up shoes, the same frame from which the movie had started.
‘House of Darkness’ Ending Explained: Why Did The Sisters Kill Hap?
To understand the reason behind the killing, we first need to monitor the brilliantly written dialogues from the beginning. Since the arrival of Hap, we can see how he was guided by Mina with every single step he took. Maybe Hap introduced himself to Mina at the bar, but right from that moment, he was unknowingly following every hint she gave. Why would he do such a thing? Well, let’s understand Hap. Hap Jackson is ashamed of pronouncing his full name. He is a consultant on a business farm. He belongs to the lower-middle class. So, these provide us enough knowledge about Hap’s being an insecure and ambitious man. Most lower-middle class people possess the same qualities. Now, Mina once asked whether he was a strong man or not. Hap answered that he works out regularly to remain younger. These little details would help us understand the reason behind the killing. Many can argue that Hap helped Mina reach home, so there was no reason for her to kill him. Meetings at the bars often end up in bed; that is not something a person would kill for. However, the devil is in the details.
What was the origin of the three sisters? According to the story of Lucy, once upon a time, a young girl lived with her family at the edge of a dense forest. When the child became an orphan, the men from the town came to hunt in the forest. They found the girl child, and every man took his turn to get their way with her. Later, a father arrived with two daughters. They found the girl and took her to a castle far away. They cured her, and soon they became three sisters. They have grown, and now they seek revenge. They went to the town and found each man responsible for the child’s pain. They used to tie them up in chairs in the caves. They did whatever they wanted with them for however long they wished, and then they pulled them apart.
This story was similar to the dream Hap had seen after he met Lucy. Now, why did he dream the obvious? Well, he drank wine from Mina’s glass. Hap possessed all of the characteristics of a man with bad intentions. He was a liar; he was motivated by greed and lust, and even envied Mina’s money. So, there was every possible sin noticeable within him. When he drank the wine, he crossed a certain line. Old wine is very, very old. They witness everything from the past and observe the present to carry it to the future. When Hap drank the wine from Mina’s glass, he seemed a bit moved by the taste of it. Maybe it was a strong wine. But, a man who occasionally drinks Maker’s Mark, too neat, should not be moved by the taste of strong wine. Either that or the wine contained some fragrance from the past that could let the victim see what might happen to them.
But anyway, Hap was flawed but could resist himself from misbehaving with someone. It was the only thing that had kept him alive for a long time. He lied again and again, but soon confessed the lie. He apologized quickly if he felt like he had crossed a line. So, the sisters, especially Lucy, could not harm him. But Mina, on the other hand, provoked him to admit that he could harm them if he got a chance. Earlier, Mina asked Hap if he would hurt her as he was stronger than her. Just before that, Mina bites off Hap’s lip while kissing. It did not make Hap angry; instead, he was overeager in the process. But, in the end, Mina waited for Hap to admit he could harm her. She did not let him escape; Hap finally gave up the decency out of rage and fear. He was enraged and tried to be sober, even on the verge of death.
The sisters wanted to tell the absolute truth about men. The muscles, the ego, the domination over women. Hap was not giving them enough chances. He was decent from the beginning. Yes, he had most of the seven sins, but it never triggered any alarming threat towards the sisters. But, when Hap wanted to go home and found out the door was locked, he asked Mina again to open it up. Mina said that sometimes the door is just stuck, while Nora added that it would take a little muscle to open it up. They forced him to bully them, and finally, Hap submitted to their provocation. He said, “I’ll knock you across the goddamn room” if they don’t open the door. This triggered the sisters to avenge the past. Men threaten them, believing in the power they possess. So, Hap had given the sisters enough reasons to kill him, but he was apologetic for his behavior until the very end. His anger was justified to the audience but not to the sisters.
Final Words: A Story Of A Fibber And Three Ghosts
Are they ghosts? Do they belong to ancient times? The origin of the three sisters remains undisclosed, but as per the sequence, it can be assumed that they sort of turned into vampires. They hide during the day and hunt at night. They take their turns hunting and intimidating men. Although the screenplay fails to establish a stronghold between the sisters, the script’s primary intention is to mostly fight against misogyny. It is a lesson for men who think that women are objects of comfort and that toying with them is okay. The film speaks for itself, and the makers did well with the writing. Even when Hap was talking on the phone, his friend asked him to take pictures. This, too, can be suggested as disrespect towards a woman’s privacy. So, every little detail was monitored very sharply by the makers. It was an average horror movie with a good amount of writing.
“House of Darkness” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Neil LaBute.