Every Lars von Trier movie feels like a dare, but nothing to date reaches the level of The House That Jack Built, a 155-minute portrait of a serial killer that dares to spend the duration of that running time in the confines of his disturbed mind – and, by extension, the Danish filmmaker’s as well. […]The House That Jack Built is an often-horrifying, sadistic dive into a psychotic internal monologue, with intellectual detours about the nature of art in the world today […]. If you meet the work on those terms, or at least accept the challenge of wrestling with impeccable filmmaking that dances across moral barriers, it’s also possibly brilliant.
Equal parts graphic midnight movie and discursive essay on the creative process, The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dillon as the titular antihero, and takes its cues from his version of the story. […] Dillon might have trouble putting this one at the top of his resume if he wants to do a Disney film, but there’s no question he delivers an impactful movie monster, with darting eyes and a toothy smile that makes Jack at once seem empathetic and bonkers.
If von Trier never makes another movie, The House That Jack Built would be an apt career summation. [It] tracks […] what it feels like to get trapped by your own flaws to a point that makes salvation impossible. It concludes with the suggestion that even if von Trier is trapped in a private hell of his own making – or Jack, but who are we kidding – he’s still holding on for dear life.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire