The House on the Edge of the Park (1980)

Genres - Adult, Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Giallo, Sexploitation  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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The premise of House on the Edge of the Park promises sleaze and the film certainly delivers on that promise. The script capitalizes on all the nasty sexual and violent situations offered by the plot and the characters and Ruggero Deodato films it all in a cool, unflinching style. The result is a hard-hitting affair that is certain to offend the squeamish and the politically correct. That said, exploitation film fans who can stick with its grim excesses will discover that it is made with skill and care. Both David Hess and Giovanni Lombardo Radice deliver strong performances as the home-invading duo. Hess is effortlessly convincing as the sadistic, domineering leader and Radice is unexpectedly sympathetic as his idolizing, easily-led sidekick. The script relies on a high amount of contrivance (including a questionable final twist) but does an effective job of manipulating the audience's sympathy towards its characters. Finally, Deodato handles the proceedings with flair, using the sparse musical score to ironic effect and maintaining a steady level of tension throughout. Ultimately, one's appreciation for House on the Edge of the Park will depend on one's taste for brutal exploitation fare, but those who can withstand its cruel style will find it a stylish, effective exercise in the Grand Guignol.