The Acid House (1998)

Starring Stephen McCole, Maurice Roëves, Garry Sweeney, Jenny McCrindle, Simon Weir, Iain Andrew, Kevin McKidd, Michelle Gomez, Gary McCormack, Tam Dean Burn, Alison Peebles, Ewen Bremner, Martin Clunes, Jemma Redgrave, Arlene Cockburn, Jane Stabler

Directed by Paul McGuigan

Expectations: Moderate and curious.


I didn’t know much going into The Acid House, and that was perfect. All I knew was that it had an ugly cover on Netflix, and that the Scottish accents were supposedly so thick that in some screenings it ran with subtitles for those unable to decipher the “English” being spoken. And immediately upon starting The Acid House, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Not the characters mind you, the rumors about it being indecipherable. But like a friend that helps you stagger home from the pub, Netflix was kind enough to provide subtitles on its Instant stream by default, so even Yanks like myself can get the full experience from The Acid House. This worked out great, as honestly I would’ve been lost otherwise.

The Acid House is an anthology film adapting three short stories from the work of Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting. So when, just a few minutes in, I thought the film was remarkably similar in tone and style to Trainspotting (a film I saw several times in my teenage years), it all made sense to learn it came from the same brain. But where my memory of Trainspotting tells me that film was shocking, realistic and heartbreaking, The Acid House is shocking, fantastical and hilarious. I loved it, start to finish, but this is definitely not a film for everyone.

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