The House That Jack Built Wrecks the Cannes Film Festival

Some critics couldn't stomach what they were watching.

By L.B. Lubomski

Danish filmmaker and director Lars von Trier's latest psychological horror film, The House That Jack Built, is already causing a stir after numerous audience members apparently walked out during its showing at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend. What seemed like dozens of film critics took to social media to announce their decision to not view the film in its entirety due to its graphic nature.

One of the posts that seemed to garner the most attention was from film critic "The Oscar Predictor," whose tweet described the film as "gross" and "vomitive" among other choice words. The account later clarified in a second tweet that they were familiar with von Trier's previous movies, but that the "violence made sense" in those past films.

However there was a small, yet vocal minority of critics and movie-goers that remained until the end, where it was reported that von Trier received an extended standing ovation at the film's conclusion. Von Trier had previously been banned from showing his films at Cannes for seven years due to provocative Nazi-related comments he had made. That ban, which was lifted this year, seems to have paid off since The House That Jack Built is the most talked about film from the festival, for better or for worse.

The official synopsis from the film's Facebook page paints a better picture of just exactly what Cannes attendees got themselves into.

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT takes place in 1970s USA. We follow the highly intelligent Jack through 5 incidents 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. He views each murder as an artwork in itself, even though his dysfunction gives him problems in the outside world. Despite the fact that the final and inevitable police intervention is drawing ever near (which both provokes and puts pressure on Jack) he is – contrary to all logic – set on taking greater and greater chances. Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge – a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and in-depth explanations of, for Jack, dangerous and difficult maneuvers.

You can also check out the film's first official trailer below, which has an American Psycho vibe and features David Bowie's 1975 hit "Fame" playing while Jack brutally tortures and kills a wide range of different people. This is clearly not a movie for the faint of heart.

The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sofie Gråbøl, and Riley Keough. There are currently no known plans for a more widespread release either theatrically or on home video, but this author personally can't wait to see what all the fuss is about, hopefully sometime in the near future. Especially after watching the above trailer.

What are your thoughts on The House That Jack Built? It really can't be that bad, can it? Especially among a more desensitized community of horror movie fans. Let us know what your thoughts are and stay tuned for any more information on this controversial film.

About the Author

L.B. Lubomski

Lawrence "L.B." Lubomski is an avid horror movie fan, gamer, musician, historian, and aspiring author. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, L.B. was exposed to the works of local filmmaker and godfather of zombie cinema George A. Romero early on. He has since developed a particular fondness for Italian zombie/cannibal and slasher films. This passion for horror extends into other media, from survival horror video games such as Resident Evil to horror-inspired musical artists. In his spare time, L.B. pursues many interests including building his collection of vinyl records, action figures, and vintage video games as well as drumming in various local bands.

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