Noirhouse (2013)

Australia / 18 minutes (total) / bw / Sky Machine Dir: Shaun Wilson Pr: Nathan Spencer, Shaun Wilson Scr: Tim Logan Cine: Simon Gray Cast: Nathan Spencer, Melanie Irons, Mick Davies, Sarah Wadsley, Matt Burton, Robert Manion, Rose Kokkoris, Mick Lowenstein.

An entertaining three-episode miniseries of comedy noir shorts published online as streaming videos.

Noirhouse - 'She's dead EXCLAM'

“She’s dead!”

Three misfits share a house: a hardboiled ex-cop PI (Spencer), complete with the omnipresent hat and coat, a beautiful femme fatale, Nadia (Irons), and a hulking Russian (Davies), who may or may not be a communist. For reasons not stated, The Detective wants to kick Nadia out of the house, so, to her great disdain, he and The Russian start interviewing prospective candidates in a sequence reminiscent of its equivalent in SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992). One of the candidates, the young woman Alice (Wadsley), insists on being given the room, and the two men offer mere token resistance. Yet she clearly has some psychological hangups: she practically bursts into tears when The Detective reads the name on her teddy bear as “Mr. Grumblee”; “That’s not his name!” she wails.

Soon Alice is discovered flat-out on the living-room carpet, stabbed with The Detective’s knife. While Nadia stresses the evidence against him, he suspects Nadia is the killer. When door-to-door salesman George Rumblee (Burton) arrives, The Russian assumes he‘s the killer and starts torturing him for information. Nadia produces a gun and . . .

Noirhouse - 'Remember the last time we had a house inspection QUERY'

“Remember the last time we had a . . . house inspection?” purrs Nadia.

This homage to classic noir impressively captures the feel of the genre, both visually and through the casting and performances. Irons makes a superb femme fatale, switching on the allure and the venom with equal ease, Wadsley convinces as the ingenue-who-isn’t, and Spencer’s PI is, as he should be, straight from Central Casting. The semi-surreal plot isn’t intended to make a whole lot of sense, and succeeds in that lack of intention, but it has some good jokes (Nadia’s final use of the metal tray made me laugh aloud) and some good noirish one-liners:

           Alice: “Well, you only live once, right?”

Nadia: “If you’re lucky.”

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