This movie is about a brothel. All the girls in it are kidnapped and drugged. They are kidnapped by a military unit. While the film is a British film, it seems to be set in some Eastern Bloc country after the fall of the USSR when there was all that fighting over there. I’m guessing the name of the brothel was The Seasoning House as it is the name of the film. I’m not sure as it is never mentioned in the movie.
I feel I should mention that one of the things that caught my eye about this film is that Sean Pertwee is in it. I didn’t think Pertwee was a terribly common name so I had to look him up. He is, indeed, the son of Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor. He plays the commander that is using his unit to kidnap young women from the towns and take them to the brothel. In fact, the military men seem to be the primary customer base for the place.
They take a young girl who is deaf and mute. Parts of the movie are filmed with no sound other than background music and it is effective for getting into the head of the girl who will be called Angel.
For some reason, movies fall apart around biological function. Angel is def and someone drops a bucket next to her head with a loud clatter for the audience. The implication is the sound woke her but she is def. More likely she felt the vibration through the metal bed frame. But the give the impression it is sound. At another point, someone goes pst pst to her and she turns her head. There is not viable explanation to that. It isn’t like he was close to her. He was several yards away. Lastly, it looks like she is emptying slop buckets into one bucket. But the girls are tied to the bed by one hand. The slop bucket is out of reach. So how are they using it?
Angel herself is very pretty but has a very large, strawberry birth mark on one side of her face. Victor, the man who runs/owns the brothel, keeps her for himself and has her take care of the girls. He seems to treat her with a very strange sort of gentleness and kindness contrary to the rest of his actions.
This movie is dark and dirty and violent and generally horrible. Yet is has some bizarre moments of cinematic beauty. The scenes with no sound but background music, when Angel starts to wash the hand of a girl whose was killed by a soldier as he raped her, when Victor is showing Angel how to inject a girl w/ heroin.
Angel bonds with a girl who knows sign language. Her father was deaf. And through flashbacks, we learn that Angel’s own father was also a violent and abusive man. Her mother kicked him out. So Angel is upset when this girl’s pelvis is broken by a customer. The doctor is brought in and Victor implies the doctor can use her for something that is never explained. The doctor says that she is in no fit condition. Victor says some things about the past and clearly has a hold over the doctor but it isn’t explained. This becomes sort of important later.
Victor seems to be looking forward to a time when everything will be different, when he and Angel can leave and start over someplace new. He seems to think himself in love with her. Why is never really explained. Does he think that because he keeps her safe from the customers and is somehow kinder and gentler with her even though he forces himself on her that she will somehow love him for it? Does he think that because of her birthmark and her being deaf and mute that she would be grateful that someone would want her? It really makes no sense. I have a theory that when we see evil characters trying to be good or gentle about something and not to turn it around as a trick, we are seeing a weird peek into the person they would have been, should have been, had they not ended up being a sick and twisted individual.
The people who kidnapped Angel and killed her mother (she had a sister, I’m wondering if that was the girl Victor kills in the beginning to frighten the other girls into cooperation) arrive in town again. I think this must be a military town because the commander acts like he owns the place and later acts like he own a machine shop that Angel tries to hide in. He orders everyone out and they go. Anyway, they come into the brothel and this freaks Angel out.
Time passing is hinted at as the commander implies that he is in security now. One of his men is sent in to the girl with the broken pelvis and she ends up dying. Angel now starts her killing spree. Only it isn’t a spree so much. She is really the only one she kills on purpose. The rest she kills as she is defending herself and in some cases, almost accidental. The fact that no one ‘really’ catches her is more a factor of dumb luck and her own desperation to get away.
Eventually, the last one standing is the commander dude and she is in the machine shop, (not really, I don’t know what it was so that is what I’m calling it) and she gets into the duct work and pipes to escape him. He tries to follow her and eventually gets really stuck. I mean good and stuck. The more he tries to get unstuck the worse it gets. He starts to beg her to help him. He is trying to kill her, he is responsible for her mother’s death and likely her sister as well, he kidnapped her and sent her to this brothel where the owner is raping her, and he wants her to help him. At this point, she happens to be facing him so she is able to read his lips as he does this. She produces a rag from someplace. As her clothes are pretty shredded up, it is probably cloth she ripped off. She shoved it in his mouth so he can’t talk and leaves him stuck. The implication being that he will die a slow death of starvation in the duct or pipe.
Now she gets out of the shop, continues running across more fields until she comes to an old lady working in her garden. The lady start to call for help and the doctor who tended the girls at the brothel comes out of the house. The old woman takes a sobbing Angel inside while the doctor looks both ways and then closes the door. End of film.
So, what did Victor have over the doctor? What was the doctor using girls for since all we know is that a girl with a broken pelvis was unsuitable? Did Angel just get out of the frying pan only to find herself in the fire now? We don’t know because this is where the story stops.
I find it very frustrating. I want to know how something ends. Even if it is not a happy end, I want an ending. Not a great big question mark.