Directed by Penelope Buitenhuis and written by Matthew Kevin Anderson, “House of Deadly Lies” is a heavy-handed but well-intended attempt at recreating the magic of Golden Age Hollywood thrillers. Nods towards Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt” or Carol Reeds’s “The Fallen Idol” can be observed in this simplistic yet gripping story. There are some fundamental flaws, like the overindulgence in background music, but they are negligible. With a decent all-round performance from the entire cast, especially Katy Breier, “House of Deadly Lies” is a fine watch, especially for thriller fans.
House of Deadly Lies (2023) Movie Synopsis & Plot Summary
Paige (Katy Breier) and Mike (Jonathan McLaren) seem to have the perfect marital life. Barbeque in the backyard, friendly neighbors, doting in-laws, and an adorable son, Tanner. The house dynamic changes with the arrival of a guest. Paige’s longtime friend, Joslyn (Leah McKenney), gets kicked out by her boyfriend. Joslyn is in the last trimester of her pregnancy. Paige, for apparent reasons, offers her to stay with them. At first, it seems as harmless as a mild intrusion. However, Paige soon discovers that Mike is particularly aggressive with Joslyn.
When Paige confronts Mike, she is surprised to see a new avatar of him. Mike becomes agitated and starts to lord over her. He insinuates that Paige has no job. Reflecting machismo, Mike verbally abuses Paige with disparaging remarks on how he ‘pays the bills.’ Mike’s change in behavior shocks Paige. And Mike’s continuous disappearance at odd hours scares her. Subsequently, she does some digging on him. And what she finds further terrifies her.
It appears that Mike lost his real-estate job some months ago. And now he is working with a biker gang to broker a drug deal. When Joslyn delivers a baby boy, momentary happiness overcomes Paige. But that quickly dissipates as she notices the birthmark on the newborn baby. Mike has the same birthmark. It becomes clear to Paige that Joslyn carried Mike’s baby. When Paige confronts her, a broken Joslyn claims to be raped by Mike. Joslyn reveals that she was unconscious when someone forced her. At first, she thought it was her boyfriend, but only later realized it was Mike.
Paige immediately does not believe her. Or she could not bring herself to see past the facade of Mike. But soon, with more aggressive behavior from Mike, Paige comes to her senses and believes Joslyn. Paige decides to take the help of the Police. However, the helpful detective could not help much without some solid evidence. The dejected-but-not-defeated Paige plans with Joslyn to escape from the clutches of Mike, who has realized that Joslyn’s son is his. Mike threatens Joslyn with custody of the newborn baby.
The two women plan to gather just about enough money so that they can leave Mike. Joslyn manages to get the required amount as a loan from her ex-boss. But Mike finds that money and takes it away. Paige sees no option but to look into the shed where Mike seems to hide his stash from the deals with the biker gang. Paige hits the jackpot with a bag full of drug money. And they soon leave with their respective children.
House of Deadly Lies (2023) Ending Explained and Themes Analyzed: How Did the Women Escape Mike?
Why Do Paige and Joslyn Choose to Go to Canada?
Paige’s mother, the lovingly caring Dolly, provides the two running women some guidance via phone. Firstly, she makes them see that with the stolen drug money, it is now paramount for their safety to leave the country because the gang members can track them down anywhere in the United States.
Dolly hooks them up with her cousin, who stays in Canada. The older man would provide all the necessary documents for the two women and their children to cross borders. However, there lies the first problem. Paige has forgotten to take the passports with her.
How do they escape?
Paige sees no option but to go back to the house to fetch the passports. She encounters Mike there, who initially cannot believe what is happening. He goes berserk when he realizes that the two women are leaving him and taking his two sons away. He hits Paige. A fight ensues. Despite taking multiple beatings, Paige manages to land the all-important blow on Mike’s head with a fireplace poker.
Not sure whether she killed her husband, Paige flees away to the motel where she left Joslyn and the children. They decide to go to the motel immediately because they have swiped a credit card to take the rooms. And Mike, if alive, would track the motel down via credit card statement. And so he does – the very much alive Mike.
By that time, Joslyn has taken the entire party to her family cabin, which is abandoned. Mike also finds out about that cabin from Joslyn’s ex-boyfriend. Toxic bro-code, one can assume. The climactic fight in the cabin goes in favor of the women. Even Tanner, to whom his dad, Mike, was a hero, lands a blow on Mike to tilt the fight towards’ his mother’s end.
Mike is knocked out one more time. Paige calls the helpful detective, and this time the Police take Mike away. The detective enquires about the money. But Paige denies knowing about it. When the police convoy leaves with Mike, we see the money hidden in the crib of Joslyn’s baby. With that money, the two women cross the border to live a peaceful, independent life.
The Theme of Working Woman
Women have always worked and continue to do so even without a designated job title. Being a housewife is a thankless and, unfortunately, unpaid job. However, as toxic males in their life would always remind them, society would not pay for homemaking. The dependence of Joslyn and Paige on Mike is a strong highlight of that. The two women were afraid to stand up because they had no financial backing.
This underlines the importance of a ‘paying’ job in every woman’s life. It is a liberating, confidence-boosting experience. It ensures equality. Joslyn and Paige, undoubtedly, would live a much better life now that they are free from dependence on a man, even if the freedom comes from a shady place.