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Twists, Turns, and a Bubble Gum Baby Make “Krazy House” a Thrill Ride

PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 20: (L–R) Gaite Jansen, Walt Klink, Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil, Alicia Silverstone, and Maarten Swart at the “Krazy House” premiere at Egyptian Theater. (Photo by Haley Nord/Shutterstock for Sundance Film Festival)

By Stephanie Ornelas 

Sometimes, you don’t know who someone truly is until they’re pushed to the brink, putting on full display just how “krazy” a person can be.

What begins as a seemingly pleasant and stereotypical old-school family sitcom with all the tropes and quirks, quickly snowballs into a hellish nightmare for one happy-go-lucky patriarch and his family in Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil’s Krazy House, which premiered in the 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight category at The Egyptian Theater on January 20th in Park City, Utah. 

“It started out with a really small idea of having a ‘90s sitcom setting — this safe bubble — and fucking it up. It escalated really quickly,” says Haars to a laughing audience during the post-premiere Q&A. 

The audience erupted with laughter more than once during the chaotic but fun horror flick that follows this family whose lives are turned upside down when Russian criminals posing as construction workers invade their home. Every imaginable stereotype of ‘80s and ‘90s sitcoms are cleverly and cheekily snuck into the first act, in a home that seems remarkably similar to that of well-known classic sitcom Married with Children — with 4:3 aspect ratio and hilarious live studio audience laugh track to go with it. 

“It was quite intentional,” says Haars of the familiar set. “The whole bottom floor plan is Married with Children. That was a big inspiration.” 

As Bernie Christian (Nick Frost) tries to be Mr. Nice Guy, always doing the right thing at every turn, he, his wife (Alicia Silverstone), and two kids (Gaite Jansen, Walt Klink) find themselves thrust from the seemingly pleasant sitcom world into very real and imminent danger presented by the Russian thugs. Under the guise of repairing the kitchen sink, they quickly and comically tear the house apart in search of a mysterious item, thrusting the audience into a new 16:9 cinematic world when things get serious. And what we’re left with is absolute chaos when the characters, who we thought we knew, start to transform into completely different people.  

The word “fun” was used a lot during the Q&A, both from the actors who enjoyed bringing the film to life and the audience, some of whom were still trying to process what they had just seen.  

“People take things too seriously,” says Klink, who watched the film for the first time along with audiences. “We gotta have more fun, we gotta let loose. I was a really big fan of Steffen and Flip, so it really didn’t matter what I wanted to do. And then I got to play a crack addict, which was fun, who sees aliens, which was also fun. It was just a lot of fun. And that’s what it’s all about.”  

Jansen agrees as she looks back to one bizarre scene when her character becomes pregnant and ends up giving birth to what appears to be a bubble gum baby. 

“When you read that you’re going to give birth to a bubble gum baby, you kind of let go,” she laughs. And you better believe an audience member had questions about that scene. 

“I think every good movie has got a life lesson in it. And to us, it’s just so important: Just don’t swallow bubble gum. Does that answer the question?” asks Haars. 

Probably not, and the audience was simply okay with that as they erupted in laughter once again.  

“When I read the script, I really loved it,” adds Silverstone. “Then I saw a film that [Haars and Kuil] made and I was very impressed. And then I met them and they were lovely. It was just a dream. We’ve said the word ‘fun’ too many times but it’s really true, we would just laugh. And just when you think there couldn’t be any more murder or blood, there’s more.” 

Haars and Kuil use a fascinating mix of filmmaking styles to denote transitions between acts, character arcs, and crucial turning points in the film. Reminiscent of the bizarre late-night Adult Swim sketch, Too Many Cooks, Krazy House ups the ante and then doubles down multiple times in a blood-laden fight to the death for the family’s life. The “come-to-Jesus” moment for the father is ironically poetic and spurs him to drop the smile and get down to business to protect what he loves most. 

“It’s fun. [This film] should be fun,” adds Haars. “This character [Bernie Christian] is not doing well. He’s just figuring things out.”  

To see more of the magic from the 2024 Festival, click here.

Krazy House- Bloody man