USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack's development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack's point of view, while he ponders each murder as 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. Along the way we experience Jack's descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown character called Verge.
If you like serial killer documentaries, then this one’s for you. It’s absolutely brutal and clever with dialogue that reads like a Lifetime Special. Jack is self-aware (played by Matt Dillon) and he is brutally honest with himself as we dive into his psyche as an audience. Nothing is off limits – children, animals, women, etc.
This movie is notorious for causing controversy at a film festival in 2018. Many people fainted, vomited, and left during the premiere. Director Lars Von Trier (Antichrist, Breaking the Waves) is no stranger to controversy for his dark and graphic works of art, but this is a movie that swings high and fills in a void that often gets missed in the world of slashers.
Think of the psychiatry behind ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ mixed with ‘American Psycho’, and add a dose of pure apathy to the mixture. There was one scene where my jaw dropped and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – which does not happen often.
This movie might be disgusting, but it is beautiful. This is written by a psychopath who is being extremely honest with the audience and with himself – and we’re lucky to have a front row seat to the breakdown.
‘The House that Jack Built’ is now streaming on Hulu – but it is the R-rated Cut; Scream Factory has the director’s cut available on BluRay/DVD
‘Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra