Matthew Lickona 7 a.m., April 24
House in the Alley
Newlyweds Thao (Ngo Van Thanh) and Thanh (Tran Bao Son) had planned on making the large home situated in one of Saigon’s traditional alleys their happy-ever-after family dwelling. But then a miscarriage presents a life-changing dilemma. Racked with guilt and terrified of being alone, Thao can’t bring herself to give the child a proper burial and insists that its remains be kept in a mini-mausoleum in their bedroom. (The first time the couple make love after the misbirth is shown from the perspective of the tiny wooden box.) Considering the obvious budgetary restrictions, the filmmakers could not afford to transform the house into a full-blown character, and the film is at its most effective when centering on the melodrama inherent in the psychological horror. The few concessions that are made to modern horror films are as unwarranted as they are quaint. 2012.
— Scott Marks
- Review: "Mini Mausoleum" • October 23, 2013