So, I'm sitting at home last night, watching a slew of horror movies (as one does during the Halloween Season) with my phone charging in another room (a habit I've gotten into as to not keep checking it while the picture plays). On a break between films, I go to see if there are any pending emergencies, only to find three straight calls from some Oklahoma number I don't recognize. Before I can even Google the digits, the same number calls back. I answer (despite not knowing a single soul in that state), thinking it could be urgent, only to be greeted by an (obviously recorded) creepy voice on the other end of the line:
"This is the house that Jack built..."
Thankfully, I'd already seen Lars von Trier's latest opus, and knew this was simply a marketing ploy for The House That Jack Built, and not some wacko lurking outside, waiting to murder me (though, in fairness, those two events aren't mutually exclusive). The dude droned on with some sort of demented nursery rhyme, the line went dead, and I threw on the next movie in my own personal marathon line-up, wondering all along who thought robocalling motherfuckers to promote a movie most people are going to approach with a chip on their shoulder was a great idea.
Dumbass huckster tactics aside, The House That Jack Built is totally fantastic, and I sort of feel bad about enjoying (not to mention laughing along with) von Trier's troubling work to the degree that I did. I'll be able to say more as we get closer to the release date, but LVT may have made his very best picture with this serial killer epic. It's mean, ugly, hilarious, and self-reflexive in a way that indicates the notorious Danish director knows his time is up behind the camera, and is leaving us with the pièce de résistance before he goes.
After completely causing a ruckus at Cannes and going dormant (for the most part) since, we're finally receiving general release info on Jack. IFC Films is distributing the nastier "Director's Cut" (which truly is stomach-turning) into theaters for one night only on November 28th, before unveiling a trimmed down, R-rated iteration into select theaters on December 14th. For those wondering, both versions will be available for purchase on VOD December 14th. To go along with the announcement, IFC also released a new trailer for you to feast upon (and probably get sick from).
Take a look:
While alternate edits are no new thing for von Trier (see also: Nymphomaniac), it's still somewhat baffling as to why they'd chop this one down. Granted, the movie is filled with sick, twisted violence (not to mention an incredibly unsettling central performance), but anyone who was planning to give The House That Jack Built a shot probably wants to see the picture in all its uncut glory. The only reasoning this writer can think of for the dual edits is:
- Publicity (as knowing there's a "soft" version can only boost sales for the "hard" cut)
- An easier time getting certain theater chains and streaming platforms to play the already disreputable horror film
Obviously, it's up to the individual regarding whether they watch a new Lars von Trier movie, given his long history of bad behavior and alleged abuse. But if you do, know that The House That Jack Built is one hell of a film, and well worthy of critical consideration.