I say all this to say that some of the things that happened in The House That Hack Built reminded me of another semi-recent dark comedy centered around a serial killer in the form of Die-Ner: Get It?. THTJB isn’t the only new-ish serial killer movie to do something new. If you’re familiar with Horvath (and his directing partner Dallas Hallam) then you would know he isn’t a novice at taking an original/abstract approach to the horror genre (read my thoughts on the masterful Entrance for further examples of how Horvath & Hallam’s brains are wired). While Die-Ner may be rough around the edges according to Horvath himself (this was his first feature film), it still planted the seeds for all his work that followed. He considered his debut a huge (positive) learning experience that he still remains proud of...
I took all those lessons learned and used the knowledge to help give Entrance a fighting chance at making it into the world after we shot it - Patrick Horvath
In Die-Ner (Get it?) we follow a group of folks trying to fight their way out of a zombie attack at a local a diner. (Hence the title. Get it?) and the de facto leader/main character is a serial killer named (Ken). Instead of the convenient former marine who knows how to use every weapon and is also versed in hand-to-to hand combat, Horvath gives us a sociapathic serial killer.
Now...in any normal circumstance I’d want nothing to do with a serial killer. But in the case of a zombie apocalypse where you can kill at will (in an effort to survive) that’s the kind of guy/gal I’d want on my side. And when you look at it from the serial killer’s perspective, he’s like a kid in a candy store. Instead of killing innocent civilians, he gets a free pass to kill people (who aren’t even really people anymore so it’s fine). This movie brings up the debate as to whether or not someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time, or, the wrong place at the right time. Or perhaps Ken is in the right place at the right time?
Although Horvath saw things differently than I did. To him, this film was a bit of an existential dilemma for the serial killer in that there's no payoff for committing all the murders he does.
for the serial killer I thought it would be hilarious to give the person a situation where their dead wouldn’t stay dead - Patrick Horvath
So in a sense, you’re free to root for anyone in the film (Ken is still a terrible person even if we caught him at a unique moment in his life) or just watch it from a morally indifferent standpoint and be entertained.
Die-Ner does what The House That Jack Built tried to do, only slightly better. It also bypasses/sidesteps a lot of the problems that many people had with THTJB.
The only issue is Die-Ner is a little difficult to watch online. There’s a crappy quality/slightly sped-up version up on a certain popular video site, but besides that’s it’s a little tough to come by.
There are DVD’s on Amazon. Given the rise of physical media amongst cinephiles these days, perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to put some money up for the DVD version.