Minimalist Horror Is Really Rather Minimalist | House of Screaming Glass Review

One thing about being a journalist is you can get screeners of upcoming and independent films you wouldn’t normally seek out. House of Screaming Glass is one of these films, a practically no-budget New York indie horror film.

This is supposed to be ‘slow horror’, i.e. we are focused entirely on one character and her droning voice as she investigates the mysterious schoolhouse left to her by her grandmother. I understand, it is a low budget horror film, and as someone who has something of an interest in making a low budget horror film, the idea of one character in a house narrating is indeed something about doing myself. However, this film kind of proves why that may be a bad idea, or if not a bad idea, perhaps an unwise idea.

Somehow, three writers (Costanza Bongiorni, Tom Jolliffe, and director David R. Williams) came up with this. Lani Call, our only actor on screen is Elizabeth, a troubled young woman with an isolated life, who was raised by a troubled mother who taught her only two things – how to drive a car and how to play the piano. So, because of this, most of the film is soundtracked by plinky-plonky, slightly out of tune piano. She goes out to somewhere (the film was shot in upstate New York) to find this schoolhouse. She wanders around, looking uncomfortable and pained. That’s it. For 106 minutes. And though it is nicely shot, it feels like it’s trying a little too hard at being ‘art’.

It feels like House of Screaming Glass might be an okay fifteen minute short film but 106 minutes? Even at an hour, it would be pushing it. For an 106 minute feature, there is truly little to say about it. It is not that it is a bad film, it’s that it is not much of a film, constantly in circles. It is described as a surreal experiment in minimalist horror. And for that, A for effort. If you like minimalist, slow arthouse horror, then it might be up your street. 


HOUSE OF SCREAMING GLASS arrives on VOD and DVD on Tuesday, May 21st.