Last House on the Reich – A Review of ‘Living Space’

When Brad (Leigh Scullyand Ashley (Georgia Chara), a couple of Americans travelling through Germany, experience car troubles in the middle of the night, they take refuge in an abandoned farmhouse. They quickly discovered the house’s previous resident, a Nazi general (Andy McPhee), haunts the grounds. As the night progresses, the odds of getting out of the house alive diminish as the evil force ensnares the couple in a myriad of horrors.

Living Space by writer/director Steven Spiel packs some punch in its brief runtime (less than 80 minutes). It’s aim is clearly to entertain and, for the most part, it succeeds. The film is very uneven and goes where I never expected. I may have been more captivated by the sheer weirdness of the film rather than it’s horror. The leads do a serviceable job, but much of their actions and dialogue are either nonsensical or clichéd (at times, both).  They’ll deliver lines like, “We just have to make it through the night. We’ll find help first thing tomorrow” without any indication or rationale why they might be able to get out of a house that’s locked them in come daylight. Given the fact this movie is about a Nazi poltergeist, we can forgive such narrative choices, as flimsy as they are. To the film’s credit, other seemingly bad filmmaking choices actually have a payoff, like who might have been filming the Nazi general killing his family in the past, which pleasantly surprised me.

I was both intrigued and satisfied with the conceit that the evil of the Nazis will echo for an eternity, inescapable to any who approach it, if that is in fact the statement for which Spiel was going. At the same time, the film’s approach to Nazism is superficial at best, with gratuitous use of the swastika as an ultimate symbol of evil; one can only see a swastika carved into flesh so many times before it starts to lose it’s effect. But as the film got batshit weird in its final act, I couldn’t fight the twisted smile forming on my face.

Living Space premieres on March 10th at Event Cinemas George Street in Sydney and then will play throughout Australia and New Zealand as part of the Monster Fest Traveling Road Show.