I stumbled upon this 70-minute Italian movie about a transgender woman living in a haunted house completely by accident on Prime.
Erika has escaped an abusive relationship and goes to stay at an old house in a country village. We first officially learn that she is trans when she’s speaking with a female friend over video chat and references her man parts.
Attempting to recuperate, Erika soon begins experiencing supernatural occurrences, like slamming doors and sightings of a little girl.
As the scares continue, she and a friend call in a psychic medium to help discover exactly who or what is haunting Erika.
While The House of Murderers has some creepy moments and creepy atmosphere, it’s clearly a low budget effort, drags a bit due to rather drab delivery of lots of dialogue, and doesn’t quite ramp up the suspense or scares enough, so it comes across as more of a supernatural drama. Even though it only runs 70 minutes long, since it does not build the intensity of the ghost attacks to the level of more mainstream ghost movies these days, it might have been more effective as a shorter horror film, especially since it has the kind of zinger ending you’d expect from an episode of a horror anthology series.
As for the transgender subject matter, Erika is a fully realized character who just happens to be trans, which some will applaud, but depending on the sensitivity level of viewers, her portrayal could also be criticized for its darker, edgier aspects.
For instance, she doesn’t exactly have an easy life. She works in the sex industry, doing video performances for clients from the comfort of her own bedroom—so she could be seen as being presented as a sexual fetish or as having a sexualized identity.
However, she befriends and has a sexual relationship with an older man she meets on the street. They spend time quality together, he complements her on being more of a woman than most women in his village, but then…he suddenly becomes violent with her! WTF?
There’s definitely a tug of war with how Erika is portrayed, but in the end, although she’s a victim in various ways, she also has some fight in her…