Pull up an armchair and make yourself comfortable, folks, because we’re about to enter the Krazy House. This gonzo new splatterfest comes to us courtesy of those whacked-out Dutch pranksters Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil, the comedy duo behind such out-there flicks as New Kids Turbo and Bro’s Before Ho’s.
So what kind of kooky hijinks can we expect this time? Well, grab your crucifixes and bulletproof vests, because the filmmakers are taking us on a wild ride. Krazy House starts off innocently enough, spoofing wholesome 1990s family sitcoms like Full House or Family Matters. We meet the Christians – dad Bernie (played by Nick Frost), his career-driven wife Eva (Alicia Silverstone), rebellious gum-chewing daughter Sarah, and nerdy son Adam. On the surface, they seem like your average television clan. But this being a Steffen & Flip joint, things get loco real fast.
When a trio of villainous Russian contractors arrive to do some home repairs, they end up tearing down the walls both literally and figuratively. We’re talking violence, drugs, sacrilegious shenanigans – you name it. Before long, little Adam is cooking crystal meth, daughter Sarah gets knocked up, and good ol’ Bernie goes on a hallucinatory killing spree. So much for wholesome family values!
Strap in, folks. With Krazy House, the Dutch demigods of destruction have cooked up an insane cocktail of blood, raunchy laughs, and postmodern mind-benders. Are you ready to enter the funhouse from hell?
Holy Mess! The Deranged Story of the Christians
At the center of all this madness is the Christian clan, headed up by good-natured buffoon Bernie. When we first meet Bernie, he seems like your classic cheesy sitcom dad – bumbling around in silly homemade shoes, crashing into things and spewing catchphrases like “Oh gosh, what a mess!” But it turns out this “mess” talk is foreshadowing some truly demonic hijinks.
The trouble kicks off when a trio of ominous Russian contractors – Piotr and his sons Dmitri and Igor – show up to do repairs on the Christians’ damaged house. These dudes seem less interested in home improvement and more in completely annihilating any sense of sanity in the place. And annihilate they do! Soon little Adam iscooking up batches of blue meth with Igor, while his sister Sarah gets impregnated by a disturbingly amorous Dmitri.
Meanwhile, a hallucinating Bernie keeps seeing visions telling him to “kill them all.” Uh oh. You just know that can’t be good. And it ain’t, folks. Bernie fully snaps, going on a rampage to “save” his family that involves brutally murdering the Russians in hyper-violent fashion. We watch in horror as he guns down Dmitri and Igor without blinking. He even blows away his own beloved dog Angel when she gets in the way! So much for loving thy neighbor.
By the end, the once-pious Bernie has gone full apostate. He viciously beats God himself (played by Kevin Connolly) with his trusty broom shoes, at one point screaming “Go to hell, Jesus!” So the bumbling Ned Flanders-type sitcom dad becomes a ruthless killing machine. It’s like if Homer Simpson went full Falling Down. What else would you expect in the Krazy House? This funhouse is about to leave the Christians in complete ruins!
Deconstructing the American Dream
Now that our heads have stopped spinning from that insane plot, let’s dive into what these Dutch madmen might be trying to say here (if anything). On the surface, Krazy House is clearly getting its kicks from the contrast between smiley-happy sitcom-land and over-the-top carnage. Seeing the camera pan from a laughing studio audience to a dude blowing his daughter’s flaming stillborn baby at Russian mobsters as a weapon – yeah, it’s gloriously absurd.
But the movie also seems interested in lobbing some barbs at idealized American domesticity. That opening sitcom parody neatly encapsulates a kind of straight-laced, follow-the-leader lifestyle, with doofus Bernie as a stand-in for the emasculated modern father struggling to live up to old patriarchal expectations.
His role as bumbling religious nutjob unable to protect his family mirrors anxieties around traditional masculine powerlessness. And making him a hyper-devout Christian underscores his delusional nature – clinging to faith when the world’s going mad around him.
So while the violence gets dialed to 11 pretty quick, underneath the carnage lies hints of some reactionary frustration at diminishing status – the angry white male raging against his aging demographic’s loss of control. Bernie ultimately rejects Christ and regains dominance through brute homicidal force.
Of course, parsing this subtext too deeply may be overthinking things! By relentlessly smashing sitcom structure into gross-out chaos, Krazy House could just as easily mean to pop the bubble of anyone taking these outdated cultural myths too seriously in the first place – poking holes in conservative American pie-in-the-sky delusion.
The sheer gory absurdism has a post-modern, reality-distorting vibe too. Like we’ve entered some bizarro parallel dimension where the laugh track still cues amidst beheadings and crucifixions. So perhaps any meaning beyond provocation is secondary to the all-out sensory assault?
Either way, the directors push things to extremes – sometimes losing resonance in the gameplay of shock for shock’s sake. Will blasphemy win out over empathy? Enter at your own risk! Just don’t wear your Sunday best…
Sitcom Lens Gets Smashed
Visually speaking, Krazy House keeps things lively courtesy of some stylish cinematography and editing tricks. Early on, the filmmakers stick us squarely inside 90s sitcom world via a retro 4:3 aspect ratio, flat lighting, and vibrant domestic set design. Costume choices also help sell the spoof, with Bernie’s Jesus-themed sweaters lending him that Mr Rogers-gone-bonkers look.
But once the Russians start tearing down walls and morality, the visual schema evolves in suitably chaotic fashion. After Bernie has his faith-smashing meltdown, the frame switches to widescreen, replacing sitcom sheen with a darkly-lit, gritty palette resembling 70s exploitation cinema.
The stunt work also grows more elaborate and destructive as things progress. We go from simple botched home repair incidents like leaky pipes to utterly demolished rooms billowing smoke. One impressive extended take shows Bernie stumbling into frame, tripping over debris while doing battle with various Russians amidst total household carnage. Here the chaotic style mirrors Bernie’s unraveling psyche, not to mention the directors’ kitchen-sink approach.
By the climax, situations have grown so extreme that spatial logic and diegetic reality essentially evaporate; we could be watching segments from entirely different films stitched together haphazardly. Yet somehow the madness feels cohesive thanks to slick pacing and transitions. However incoherent, you can’t take your eyes off the wreckage! So while the gratuity wears thin fast, visually at least, Krazy House delivers the gonzo goods. What you see usually defies both description AND comprehension.
Cast Commits as Chaos Reigns
What keeps Krazy House churning along as its shock-for-shock’s-sake conceit threatens to derail its entertainment value? Look to the game cast, who completely sell the gonzo proceedings.
Chief among them is Nick Frost, who tosses aside self-seriousness to embrace his role’s built-in buffoonery. With his clumsy physical comedy and askance facial expressions, Frost makes Bernie lovably laughable even as he devolves into a homicidal maniac. We witness Bernie lose his religion, his family, his sanity – but Frost keeps him grounded in some baseline flawed humanity.
As Bernie’s fed-up wife Eva, Alicia Silverstone also impresses in an against-type turn, nailing Eva’s over-it attitude toward her nincompoop husband. Silverstone gets to flex some manic energy in Bernie’s flashback/fantasy moments too. A later sequence where she breathlessly recounts her character’s backstory while dangling upside down showcases some impressive improv chops.
As for directors Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil, they do orchestrate cinematic anarchy with reasonable success here. Early sitcom spoofs fascinate in their poor imitation, while stunt-driven moments and transitions between film formats showcase slick technical chops. One late bravura sequence cutting between the sitcom soundstage and behind-the-scenes keeps the chaos visually dynamic.
That said, once the blood starts flowing, the shocks grow repetitive and hollow without sufficient substance or thematic resonance. Haars and van der Kuil too often mistake pushing boundaries for insight. Outrage is the whole point rather than a means to an end. And a little outrage goes a long way, even for exploitation fans. Less could’ve been more here when it comes to extremity in service of meaning.
Still, hats off to the directors for the gonzo swing – and to Frost and Silverstone for making unhinged chaos charismatic against the odds. They earn a seal of approval even if the movie doesn’t.
Closing the Krazy House
Whelp, we’ve made it out of the madhouse alive! But was barging into the Christians’ suburban cage match worth the psychic damage? Krazy House definitely shows early promise in its mission to wickedly satirize and deconstruct wholesome sitcom tropes. Visually and performance-wise, the gonzo gorefest brings some deviant goods too.
But once the blood starts gushing (which happens fast), the picture’s attempts at boundary-pushing provocation mostly feel one-note, losing resonance in favor of pointless shock value lacking sufficient substance or witty commentary. By the climax, the nihilistic spectacle leaves us cold more than thrilled.
That said, Steffen & Flip fans willing to switch brains to auto-pilot may get a kick from the anything-goes insanity – as well as Nick Frost supporters eager to see the actor shred his nice-guy image. Likewise, devotees of the midnight movie circuit keen on sheer tasteless absurdity could find some perverse enjoyment being stuck on the Krazy House’s sadistic channel. Cinema sickos: come on down!
As for the rest of us – the sitcom satire shows early ingenuity, but a little splashy chaos goes a long way. When shticky, try-hard offense serves little beyond its own juvenile amusement, the joke inevitably wears thin. In stretches, Haars and van der Kuil even undermine their own efforts at recalibrating moral centers; the potshots ultimately feel as lazy as what they ridicule.
By the finale, we’re mainly just left with relief. So approach Krazy House cautiously: the bloodbath has its moments, but nihilism only nourishes so much. Expect some quick cheap thrills but minimal sustenance. In the end, it’s a case of “video demolition derby: who cares who dies?” And despite spirited attempts, that indifference rubs off. What a mess indeed.
Krazy House ultimately serves up a smorgasbord of carnage without sufficient substance to give the provocations meaning. The gonzo gore showcases some style, and glimmers with satiric wit early on. But its nihilistic nonsense quickly collapses into redundancy. Shock for shock’s sake only goes so far. While Steffen & Flip’s latest delivers the depraved goods for a while thanks to Nick Frost’s committed clowning, its shticky outrages end up losing steam and resonance faster than Bernie’s faithful marriage. Krazy House brings home some kooky chaos at first but ends up squandering its own manic promise in favor of cheap laughs and cheaper blood. We expect more insight within the insanity by now from Haars and van der Kuil.
- Nick Frost and Alicia Silverstone give dedicated, funny performances
- Creative visual innovation with switching aspect ratios and formats
- Slick editing and stunt work create chaotic, dynamic pace at times
- Over-the-top shock value loses impact quickly
- Commentary on patriarchy lacks depth or meaningful exploration
- Prioritizes provocation over emotional resonance