Macabre…ish Horror Review: The House That Jack Built




The House that Jack Built, 2018/ 2 hr 35 min



In Washington, in the 1980s, Jack (Matt Dillon), a struggling architect, becomes a serial killer over a 12 year period. This is his story and philosophy as told to Virgil (Bruno Ganz).


His first kill was a woman (Uma Thurman) who was stranded on the side of the road. He gave her a lift and she was unbearable. When he couldn’t take her abrasiveness anymore, he jacks her in the face with her car jack.


The second kill was a widow (Siobhan Fallon Hogan). He conned his way into her house and strangles her. He gets away with it but almost gets caught because of his obsessive cleanliness had him returning over and over to clean up the crime scene.


Then he starts to panic and makes a series of dumb mistakes that become concealed by weather of other happenstance. This convinces Jack that God must be on his side.


The third incident he’s so emboldened that he takes his girlfriend (Sophie Gråbøl) and her sons hunting and kills her sons, then forces their mother to have a picnic with their corpses before he kills her. He waits until rigor sets in and stages one of the bodies, making him wave and putting the worst smile on his face, ever.


At one point, Jack actually confesses to some one (Riley Keough) that he has killed 60 people. After they fail to convince a cop he’s a serial killer, she’s killed and her breasts are cut off. One is slapped onto the cop’s car and the other is made into a wallet. Later, he adds photography to his new hobby and starts having photoshoots with the frozen bodies at their crime scenes.


In another incident, he traps five men in his walk in freezer, intending to kill them all later. Oh about this freezer, he keeps bodies in it. And inside the freezer is another door he’s never been able to open. Except one day he does. And inside is Virgil or Verge.


Verge says he has been observing Jack and reminded him that he’s never built that dream house. And Jack says the materials just didn’t do what he wanted it to do.  So he gets to work on it. With the only raw materials he has around, his victims.


And with the police cutting the freezer door open, Jack enters the house. And the movie changes.

This movie kind of uncomfortable to watch but not because it wasn’t good. Jack is awkward and his sudden impulses to kill, mixed with his ocd made me anxious. He also escalated in weird ways, often testing his luck.  There are also disturbing flashbacks of him as a kid cutting the legs off of animals. This movie is long, gory and bloody but it’s not a gore fest. Also there are lots of historical clips and stills mixed into this story also he discusses art and icons, many of which are atrocities. And the end was the strangest, most anticlimactic ending I’ve ever seen.