The Seductress from Hell Image

The Seductress from Hell

By Terry Sherwood | May 13, 2024

A dysfunctional marriage or relationship can bring its brand of horror to many in life. News reports abound about such events taking a turn for the worse, ending unfortunately for all. Writer-director Andrew de Burgh’s The Seductress From Hell takes a look at such events through the eyes of an abused woman who suddenly discovers a new hobby. Set in Los Angeles, the woman in question is an out-of-work actor named Zara (Rocio Scotto), whose husband, Robert (Jason Faunt), triggers her dark side.

The picture opens with Zara sneaking out of bed. At the same time, Robert’s snooping through a box of her possessions, including cryptic notebooks of body drawings and paraphernalia bordering the mystical. Zara and Robert have money troubles, and they are exasperated by his career woes and her difficulty landing acting gigs. He’s upset that he’s nothing more than a lackey for wealthy people who summon him every day, even on holidays. Robert takes his frustration out on Zara by not supporting her and constantly putting her down with remarks about her poor cooking and even worse wine choices. The dialogue is tension-filled with gaps and clipped delivery, indicating veiled threats from Robert that Zara must improve.

When a potential TV series falls through for Zara, the strain on their relationship worsens as Robert becomes abusive. He even goes so far as to sexually assault his wife because it is time for pleasure. The timing of this couldn’t be worse, as the couple is about to have dinner with their older, well-to-do friends Derek (Raj Jawa) and Maya (Kylie Rohrer). The food is unremarkable, and the libations are not good enough, resulting in Robert punching Zara. This blow begins Zara’s descent into darkness and a realization that there is something better in life to be found.

The wronged woman’s dark turn sees her harvest the organs of men, beginning with her husband…”

From here on out, The Seductress from Hell treads the domestic horror/revenge territory of Takashi Miike’s Audition and the American Guinea Pig series. The wronged woman’s dark turn sees her harvest the organs of men, beginning with her husband, followed by a sleazy film producer named Jeffrey Delap (James Hyde). Her killings spread out to others, including her friends. The malevolence and enthusiasm Zara shows in the more talky moments indicate deep-seated psychological trouble.

The film suffers from pacing at times. Zara often tosses comments as she walks by situations or long-windedly talks to her tormented victims before the scenes of practical gore. This is similar, in a way, to how Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho presented Patrick Bateman. In the book, there are prolonged passages of Bateman rambling about wine, books, cars, and clothes. Then Ellis slips in a line like “I will see your head on a pike” or “I wonder how your rib cage will look on my wall.” However, such asides work better on the page, where the medium places us inside the protagonist’s head versus observing them in action. Here, these digressions feel awkward and go on too long.

But there are positives throughout The Seductress from Hell. The actors do well, given the dialogue. Andrew de Burgh commits wholeheartedly to the world of horror and the universal story of the plight of females in modern Hollywood and society at large. Women become like cattle to be farmed out to work, receptacles for pleasure, and, in the end, work on bent knees and bowed heads. Zara in face paint menacing victims turns this reality on its head. The open ending makes one believe that the terror caused by the beguiling Zara is just the beginning.

The Seductress from Hell is a lesson in taking recycling to an extreme. The film presents a warning to toxic masculinity subscribers that such a lifestyle is not conducive to a long, rewarding time on this earth. The cast, especially the leads’ odd chemistry, makes this film quirky enough to fit next to the more extreme Asian and European offerings.

The Seductress from Hell (2024)

Directed and Written: Andrew de Burgh

Starring: Jason Faunt, James Hyde, Andy Lauer , etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Seductress from Hell Image

"…presents a warning to toxic masculinity subscribers..."

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