His House on Netflix: Decent, but not particularly noteworthy

in #movies2 months ago

I think that the most difficult genre of movie to make into something unique but also interesting is the horror genre. If you go to far with the artistry it is too difficult to follow, if you don't go far enough, it just becomes another cookie-cutter version of a film that has already been done dozens of times before. His House aims to be unique with the direction and story-telling. I would argue it went a bit too far because after watching it I can't really say that I actually understand what just happened.


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The story is about a refugee couple from South Sudan that are transplanted into the U.K. outside London on a temporary asylum visa after they fled Sudan across the Mediterranean in an overcrowded boat of sorts. We are not immediately made aware of the details, but the story slowly unfolds over time. I'll do my best to not spoil things but in order to explain the horror a bit you need to know that the reason there is any horror to begin with is because the couple was able to escape the horror of their home country by lying about one of the other refugees being their child, when the girl was in fact not theirs.


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Bol and Rial (the couple) come from a culture that is steeped in mysticism, and they realize that this way of thinking will not be understood or even believed by the social workers who are assigned to their case. Bol attempts to explain that they need to move to a different house because the one they were assigned is "infested with rats" even though it is the spirit that he truly wants to get away from. He tries his best to eliminate the "witch" or "spirit" that is haunting them in various ways but ends up causing a bunch of damage to the house and of course this is slightly frowned upon by the social workers.


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There are a bunch of "jump scares" that are thankfully not used in excess as I feel this is a great way to completely ruin a film if this is the only mechanism that they are using to create a feeling of fright. The artistic use of dread is far more effective in my opinion as is using the unique perspective of the PTSD that refugees from a war-torn country would experience in the later stages of their life. I don't know a great deal about the problems in Sudan if I am being completely honest, nor that much about the country in a general sense but the sequences where they showcase flashbacks to what it might have been like to live through that is where this film truly shines.

Where the film kind of fails IMO is that the way in which it jumps around from hallucinations, to things that happened in Sudan, to subtle artistic representations that don't really make a whole lot of sense as far as the current time period is concerned don't make a great deal of sense, even if you are paying very close attention. As a viewer, it is difficult to determine what is real, and what is simply being used as a backdrop - the top photo in this review being a representation of what I am talking about. The couple is having dinner when all of a sudden their kitchen becomes something that is floating in water with people lurking in the background. This is never explained.

Should you watch it?

I think that if you are a die hard fan of horror it could be worth a shot but in all honesty this film is not really all that great and even worse, it is very confusing at times because you don't really understand that timeline as it goes along. I would say that I appreciated the representation of the plight of a refugee was more interesting to me than the actual horror aspects of it are concerned.

Therefore, this film is something that I would say you could watch once you run out of things to watch on Netflix that you are truly interested in. The review aggregator on Rotten Tomatoes has this film currently at 100% and I think this will definitely change as time goes by since it has only been available to watch outside of festivals for about a week.

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