The House of Yes


Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    The House of Yes is what happens when a film takes the dysfunctional family melodrama to its farthest reaches. It's a bold, gutsy movie that's definitely not for everyone.
  2. The House of Yes is knowingly overripe, a kitsch melodrama that dares to make incest sexy.
  3. But it is bright, smart, sometimes wickedly funny, and crisply performed to the point where the acting seems richer than the script.
  4. In addition to its terrifically bratty performance by the epically bratty Posey, House of Yes contains some of the smarter (and smarter-assed) writing of the year.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    But the film is keyed to Posey's performance: perfectly brittle, faultlessly false. As the most toxic of this family of vipers, she creeps and stings, and no one dares look away.
  6. 63
    When the film was over I was not particularly pleased that I had seen it; it was mostly behavior and contrivance. While it was running, I was not bored.
  7. 60
    Sex and JFK's assassination are intertwined in this puerile, pseudodark story about a wacky family--an adaptation of Wendy MacLeod's play that uses the medium of cinema mainly to exploit archival footage.
  8. 60
    For all its talk about sex, incest, insanity and the gory details of the Kennedy assassination, Mark Waters' adaptation of Wendy MacLeod's play doesn't really amount to much more than a lurid, thoroughly enjoyable little pot-boiler.
  9. Stylized dialogue tends to play awkwardly onscreen -- we're conditioned to naturalistic conversation in films -- and Waters, who makes his feature directing debut with The House of Yes, fails to create an emotional tone or attitude to match the characters' goofy repartee.
  10. The House of Yes was adapted from a play by Wendy MacLeod. And the movie, with its brittle, outrageous dialogue has a shrill stagy feel. That would be fine, if the dialogue sustained the stylish crackle of a drawing-room comedy gone berserk, but there are many gaping holes between the funny moments.
  11. 50
    Director Mark Waters has done probably the best possible job translating the material to film, and the truly filmic moments work well, but with this dialogue-heavy material, it's like trying to translate Run-DMC lyrics into Old French.
  12. Written and directed by Mark Waters, who strives for David Mamet-style punchiness but doesn't develop the quirky momentum that would carry the deliberately out-of-kilter story past its implausibilities.
  13. 50
    What follows doesn't much surprise, since every emotional detail, accompanied by a noisy storm and then a black-out, arrives well in advance of its execution.
  14. 40
    Staged and stagy, this adaptation of Wendy MacLeod's play about family dysfunction and the "anti-Camelot" is a muddled, middling mess, despite a witty, top-drawer performance from Posey and a surprisingly comic turn from Spelling.
  15. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    With its Rocky Horror meets Camelot aura, this little black movie reeks of self-satisfied smugness and pretentious perversity as only a Sundance Festival favorite can -- especially one that squanders the considerable quirky charms of indie-film darling Parker Posey. [10Oct1997 pg 04.D]

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