‘Krazy House’ Review: This Gonzo Sitcom Tests the Limits of Taste and Patience

The definition of satire is flexible, but not quite flexible enough to accommodate “Krazy House.” This bloody, anarchic hand grenade of a film is just straight-up blasphemous, opening with a brushed-aluminum shot of a cop plugging a nun full of bullets and escalating from there. Like an Adult Swim infomercial directed by black-metal teenagers, the latest feature from Dutch comedy duo Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil (“New Kids Turbo,” “Bros Before Hos”) takes sneering pleasure in giving the middle finger to God in hyper-violent, absurdist fashion.

The Adult Swim bit is baked into the premise of the movie, which takes place entirely within the confines of a sound stage reminiscent of the set from “Married…With Children.” The sitcom-within-the-film is called, naturally, “Krazy House.” It revolves around the Christian family, which is composed of standard-issue archetypes: bucktoothed bumbler Bernie (Nick Frost); his wife Eva (Alicia Silverstone), who’s naturally way out of his league; their boy-crazy daughter Sarah (Gaite Jansen); and their shy son Adam (Walt Klink), who spends most of his time tinkering with a chemistry set in his bedroom.

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Each of these traits will be corrupted as the film settles into its psychosexually loaded storyline, which revolves around the destruction wrought on this good Christian home by a trio of Russian contractors. Led by Piotr (Jan Bijvoet), these jumpsuit-clad villains tear apart the fabric of the family along with their drywall (and pipes, and floors, and…). Adam starts cooking meth and hallucinating green gremlins, while Sarah is impregnated by one of the unibrowed, mulleted cretins. Eva gets sick from the dust and loses her high-powered job, while Bernie just shuffles around in his Jesus sweater and stupid broom shoes turning the other cheek.

The jabs at Christianity in “Krazy House” are surface-level, but some interesting anxieties about masculinity bubble underneath its surface. Bernie’s faith makes him weak and unable to protect his family from an invading Russian horde, which promptly emasculates him by sexually colonizing his wife and kids. (Yes, even Adam.) It’s not until he literally denies Christ — a laid-back hallucination played by ‘90s sitcom vet Kevin Connolly — that he’s able to “man up” and reclaim what’s “his” through pulpy ultra-violence. Later on, “Krazy House” fills in a gonzo backstory for Piotr, but by that point, the film has been throwing so much at the audience for so long that it barely registers.

Nick Frost and Alicia Silverstone appear in Krazy House by Steffen Haars and Flip van der Juil, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
“Krazy House.” Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Demented turns from Frost and Silverstone — who, between this and Jennifer Reeder’s “Perpetrator,” is on a mission to take her image to some new and appealingly strange places — make “Krazy House” tolerable for far longer than it should be. Silverstone finds funny modulations in her character’s hysterical nagging and weeping, wailing “he died for our siiiiins” when Bernie’s initial attempt to defend her goes wrong. Everyone else is just blowing out the proverbial speakers with overwrought goofiness.

Haars and van der Kuil also attempt to overcome the self-imposed limitation of a single location by toggling between different aspect ratios and resolutions: Straightforward sitcom parody scenes are presented in grainy 4:3, while the film switches to fullscreen HD once Bernie starts obeying the homicidal voices in his head. This does keep the movie visually interesting, but it’s also very chaotic, particularly when combined with the film’s relentless bloodshed, juvenile shock value, and random surrealist touches.

It’s way too much and a bunch of nothing at the same time, and even agents of chaos who take wicked delight in witnessing this type of pandemonium may find themselves worn out before the film’s predictably hyperbolic conclusion. (This is a long 86 minutes.) “Are you offended yet?!,” the filmmakers seem to scream, spittle practically flying off of the screen. If every synapse in the viewer’s brain wasn’t fried after watching this — maybe?

Grade: C+

“Krazy House” premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. It is currently seeking U.S. distribution.

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