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A House in the Hills Movie Review

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Chances are that you missed A House in the Hills on the big screen. I'm still trying to figure out whether or not I would have liked it if I'd seen it in a theatre instead of on video. Like many contemporary thrillers, it deals with the menace of everyday phenomena in 20th century life. In A House in the Hills, the very appealing Helen Slater is a waitress by day and an actress in her dreams. She accepts a position as a house-sitter for strangers and, sure enough, it's the job from hell. There was a murder next door, the somewhat hostile lady of the house tells her. (Does Slater quit? Of course not!) The man of the house is weird, too; as soon as they meet, he compares the petals of his precious roses to female genitalia. (WHY doesn't she quit? I DON'T KNOW!) Anyway, they split and Helen immediately starts rummaging through closets and trying on clothes when burglar Michael Madsen shows up. But they Fall in Love for the weekend, so that's okay. Nope, the guy you got to watch out for is the lumpy next-door neighbor, Jeffrey Tambor, who looks like he should be playing the sort of roles that the late Richard Deacon used to get, but whose career has taken a much odder turn. A House in the Hills succeeds in spite of its predictable self; Slater is brave and resourceful, especially when she's swinging shovels, and Madsen has the sort of lived-in charm that has made him an always pleasant discovery on the video shelf.

1993 (R) 91m/C Helen Slater, Michael Madsen, Jeffrey Tambor, James Laurenson, Elyssa Davalos, Toni Barry; D: Ken Wiederhorn; W: Ken Wiederhorn; C: Josep Civit; M: Richard Einhorn. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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