I have to admit that I’m still not entirely sure of my feelings on Ladies of the House. I’m using this review opportunity as a way to work through the film as a discussion. The story breaks down like this: 2 dude-bros, Jacob (Gabriel Horn) and Derek (Samrat Chakrabarti), take Jacob’s Lenny-esque brother Kai (RJ Hanson) to the most deserted looking strip club I’ve ever seen for his birthday. After Kai takes a liking to one of the ladies, Ginger (Belladonna), the boys decide to follow her home to party. Booze and games quickly turn violent when Derek dares Kai and Ginger to spend 15 minutes in heaven, telling Kai he can do whatever he wants. This goes about as well as you’d expect and now the boys realize they are trapped in the house by Ginger’s work “family”.
My biggest issue with Ladies of the House is the overt almost cartoonish misogyny that comes from our lead male characters, particularly Derek. Oh sure, misogyny is nothing new in horror and I usually ignore most of it but for me these dudes felt like they came straight from Eli Roth’s Tips and Tricks For Character Writing. Though, my feelings on Eli Roth will have to be saved for another day. Of course, these guys are supposed to be terrible in the same vein as I Spit on Your Grave, albeit toned down versions of them but still we are supposed to hate them. So what about the ladies of this house?
Well, to start they are strippers which aren’t the greatest of female professions to choose from but it does serve as a great way to get unsuspecting men into your lair. After Jacob, Kai, and Derek become trapped in the house we flip focus to Getty, Crystal, and Michelle the other occupants of the house and their search for the men who have invaded their home. Getty, played by Melodie Sisk and dawning her best Rosie the Riveter outfit, is the brash muscle of this trio and has some pretty great moments throughout, making her my favorite character in this cavalcade of unfavorable people. These women are not as they seem and there’s a great reason for not contacting the police, which I won’t spoil, allowing these ladies to have full control over their home and it’s unwanted occupants.
At its core Ladies of the House is a grindhouse romp with the slick polished look of a typical modern horror flick. I would have liked to see this set in 70s or 80s, maybe I would have been more on board with the strange outfits, cute or not, and inherently bad male characters. That being said, writing all of this out has made me realize I did like the film more than I thought I did initially. Wildman and Walford have their heads and hearts in the right place and can only get better from here. A solid first effort even if it wasn’t my cup of tea to start with.