Remember that scene in Natural Born Killers in which the Juliette Lewis character enters a Married… with Children-style sitcom, with Rodney Dangerfield playing her dad? Imagine a whole movie based on that concept, add tons of violence and gore — not to mention gags about Christ and Catholicism, a tray-full of crystal meth and, in one late sequence, a dog that gets decapitated by a shotgun blast — and you’ll get an idea of what’s in store while watching the Sundance Midnight selection, Krazy House.
As over-the-top as that already sounds, the film is even more exhausting to sit through — like a hard-R Saturday Night Live sketch that’s been taken way too far, to the point you’re just hoping that it stops. Relentless and off-putting, the English-language debut of Dutch hitmakers Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil is unlikely to land a wide audience in the U.S., though it may gain them a few cult followers.
The Bottom Line
Too krazy for general consumption.
Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Midnight)
Cast: Nick Frost, Alicia Silverstone, Kevin Connolly, Jan Bijvoet, Gaite Janses, Walt Klink, Chris Peters, Matti Stooker
Directors, screenwriters: Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil
1 hour 26 minutes
Steffen & Flip, as they’re known at home, burst onto the scene in 2007 with the foul-mouthed teen TV series, New Kids, which they then adapted into the gonzo feature, New Kids Turbo. The latter grossed over $12 million and topped the local box office, becoming one of the most successful Dutch films of all time. The duo followed it up with a less successful sequel, New Kids Nitro; another action comedy, Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman; and the raunchy, very inappropriately titled Bro’s Before Ho’s.
The filmmakers bring the same brand of chaos and lewd humor to Krazy House, which was inspired by classic ’80s sitcoms like Full House and Who’s the Boss? Taking that setup and turning it upside-down — as well as [SPOILER ALERT] sodomizing it several times with a porcelain Jesus statue — the directors transform an average if somewhat offbeat family comedy into a grueling bloodbath of debauchery.
The victimized family in question is a clan of believers known, hardy har har, as the Christians. Nick Frost plays Ned the dad, Alicia Silverstone plays Eva the mom, and their teenage children Sarah and Adam are played by Dutch actors Gaite Jansen and Walt Klink. All seems well, sort of, in the Christian household when the movie starts, even if Ned and Eva don’t seem to really get along, and the latter has occasional flashes of murder and crucifixion.
Things slide quickly downhill when a trio of Russian thugs — Piotr (Jan Bijvoet), Dmitri (Chris Peters) and Igor (Matti Stooker) — connive their way into the house, taking the Christians hostage as they search for a hidden bag of money. Soon Sarah gets pregnant with Dmitri’s baby, Adam becomes a meth-head and Eva turns into Piotr’s prisoner.
It’s thus up to Ned to save the day, with Frost dropping the phony American accent as he transforms from a sweater-wearing Jesus freak into a blood-soaked revenge dad. Jesus himself also makes an appearance in the form of Kevin Connolly, who steps in for a few cringe-worthy scenes while Ned fights off evil, filling the Russians with bullet holes and other wounds.
Krazy House hardly elicits a laugh, even if a sitcom-style laugh track plays throughout the first part of the movie, which was shot to fit the old 4:3 boob tube aspect ratio. When the Russians arrive to wreak havoc and the film expands to widescreen, it becomes so persistent in its pursuit of bad and bawdy humor that it’s truly a test to sit through, not because of the gross-out factor but because the jokes are all kind of loud and dumb.
To their credit, the directors aren’t afraid to take things way too far — which could be considered a quality in and of itself, but not one that’s sustainable for nearly 90 minutes of action. How many movies, you may ask, feature the flaming corpse of a newborn used as a projectile? Or Nick Frost screaming “fuck you, Jesus Christ!” while he’s nailed to the cross? Surely not many, which is why Krazy House is both unique and, alas, uniquely unbearable.