The Horror Honeys: Tiger House: Big Girls Don’t Cry!

Tiger House: Big Girls Don’t Cry!

A Slasher Honey New to Netflix Review by Chassity

Tiger House (2015)

This ridiculous poster tho.
Life is short and we should appreciate every moment of it. Also, life sucks and sometimes you will actually wish you were dead. But no matter how much it sucks, or how unfair it’s been to us, when said life is threatened, the instinct to fight for your survival will most likely kick in.

That last part is the lesson to be learned from Tiger House. And not just from the movie’s main character, but all of them.

I am a sucker for home invasion movies, especially when they play out like slasher films. And that’s sort of the case here, with a combination of slasher elements, home invasion tropes, and action movie elements. That’s right, it is that rarest of events where I actually fall in love with something semi action-y.

If you’ve seen The Collector and have read my review of The Collection, which gushes about the former, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that this movie had immediate appeal. Tiger House has the same general idea as The Collector; where someone else is in the house that the invader didn’t plan on; a person who isn’t supposed to be there, has the advantage and has to rescue everyone else. The few differences? Tiger House has multiple villains, the invasion is motivated by financial gain instead of someone’s sadistic pleasure in torturing others, and the main character isn’t a man with a criminal background and insight into the mind of the bad guys, but a “heroine” who is your average teenage girl. More later on why the “heroine” part is sketchy. Also, if you're a fan of You're Next, you'll get on board with what this film has to offer pretty quickly.

In Tiger House, Kelly sneaks into her boyfriend’s house to see him, discovering he’s been grounded, and hides in his bed while she listens to her boyfriend’s mother berate her and her low-class mother and lifestyle. Because, obviously, lack of money means that someone is automatically not good enough for your son.

To make it up to Kelly, her boyfriend begs her to spend the night with him, hidden in his room. No one is going to keep them apart. Ah, forbidden love.

Oh, and this is after the dad comes in at the end of the mother-son argument and we learn the boy is his stepson and that there is no love lost between them. This detail is important because it makes him and the mother extremely difficult to root for. And that’s significant since generally in these movies you’re supposed to feel for the people whose home have been invaded. That’s a pretty tall order here, and one that falls short. You don’t feel for these people very much, and it’s difficult to care whether they live or die, but it’s still easy to get invested in the film, and there’s always someone else to root for.

Trouble begins when, while Kelly and her boyfriend are in the middle of an argument about her pregnancy and whether or not she should have an abortion, people break into the house. The boyfriend is captured, but Kelly is able to hide and hear everything the intruders are planning. This gives her the advantage.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a recent movie that was this intense. Every moment puts you in panic for the main character. I was constantly worried about her, and my heart raced to figure out what was going to happen next, what the intruders’ move is going to be, and it always seems that the intruders are one step away from finding out that Kelly is in the house. I can’t think of modern film that better defines what a thriller is supposed to be.

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

So there’s all that. But here’s the other thing. The trailer presents this as a film about a young girl who uses her advantage to turn the table on villains and just go all-out crazy on them to save the people in the house. And for the first part of the movie, that’s what it seems to be. Kelly is calm, she’s hiding, but she’s still somewhat in control, and she’s one smart cookie.  But then, in a total “wtf” moment, when Kelly is discovered, she completely changes. She becomes your typical horror film woman, even though this isn’t your typical horror film. Crying, screaming, whining, and loosing control. She completely gives up any power she originally had. It frustrated me, but ultimately I couldn’t resist being sucked back in.

The two main villains also behave irrationally and act out of character. The main villain, ever calm and in charge though injured and bedridden most of the time, is suddenly able to move about the house freely and becomes a blubbering mess who betrays someone and inexplicably switches sides. The other guy, Callum (you’ll know him because he’s basically an older Nicholas Hoult) who’s been insecure, unsteady, and adamant about not hurting anyone the whole time, takes charge and becomes a Michael Meyers-style villain.

I’ll give the writers credit for trying to explain this away with a backstory involving a woman two men both seem to care about, but it doesn’t work very well because the audience doesn’t get all the information, doesn’t get to meet the woman, and it’s clear that only one man was really in love with her and she was just an easy screw to the other, so it doesn’t make sense why he would act so irrationally for her.

But that’s not even the biggest mistake the movie makes. You can’t have a young woman built up to be a heroine when she doesn’t really act much like one and the only reason she survives and is able to keep the other victims alive is because every single time she should die, she’s saved by one of the intruders who’s supposed to be working against her. It is the exact opposite of what the film was built up to be, it’s unrealistic, and it’s totally deus ex machina.

All that being said, I have to admit the movie still succeeds every minute at its number one job; to entertain. There is not one single dull moment, and even though Tiger House commits the cardinal sin of having a hero rescued by others, it is still pretty fascinating and completely re-watchable.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars