HIS HOUSE (2020) Reviews of Netflix haunted home horror

  

His House is a 2020 British horror feature film about a young refugee couple who have to cope with an evil presence in their new English home.

Written and directed by Remi Weekes from a story co-written by Felicity Evans and Toby Venables, the movie stars Sope Dìrísù (The Huntsman: Winter’s War), Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country) and Matt Smith (Morbius; Last Night in Soho; Patient Zero; Doctor Who).

Plot:

After making a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, during which their young daughter is killed, a young couple of asylum seekers named Bol (Sope Dìrísù) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) struggle to adjust to their new life in a home on an English council estate that has an unspeakable evil lurking beneath the surface…

Reviews:

“For all the existential terror that Bol and Rial face in their new lives, the director keeps a firm grip on the supernatural, too. It’s clear His House aims to scare you, and it succeeds, even when the story falters a bit. The mythology presented behind the evil plaguing Bol and Rial leaves you wanting to know more.” Bloody Disgusting

“It’s mostly well-made and unremarkable until the thoughtful final act gives it more nuance.” Crooked Marquee

“Dirisu and Mosaku both make rather unengaging leads; I got no real sense of their reality falling apart, and the experiences they’ve been through don’t show in their faces. The later scenes of the movie, which border on magic realism, feel rather disconnected to the ‘refugees in the UK’ storyline; I felt that this was two separate films slightly at war with each other.” Dark Eyes of London

“There are strong performances from Dirisu and Mosaku, acing roles of great technical and emotional difficulty, securing our investment in their journey, one that has greater stakes than the average haunted house horror. At a tight 93 minutes, Weekes knows how to pace his story with the assurance of a film-maker with far more experience…” The Guardian

” …engages more with the legacies of tribalism, survivors’ guilt, and the psychological scars wrought by genocidal atrocities. Although, of course, racism and postcolonialism are there in the mix too. But these thematic undertones aside, the movie is also a very effective generator of jump scares and nightmarish imagery…” The Hollywood Reporter

[May contain spoilers]: “There’s no build-up to the scares, which begin as soon as Bol and Rial enter their home and are dialled up to 11 from the off, and while Dirisu is convincingly terrified, such fear never quite translates to the audience beyond the involuntary shocks of loud bangs and jump scares. Following a shocking late twist, a character is given a redemption that feels unearned given the nature of the crime it’s revealed they committed.” The Movie Waffler

” …Weekes’ horror proves to be multi-faceted, he confidently builds the pacing of certain moments to unleash shocking surprises in the second half, which hit differently than his grade-A scares. In Weekes’ vision, which recalls early George Romero and Wes Craven, there are numerous terrors for us to be haunted by, and are all part of a tale that is as thoughtfully executed as it is terrifying.” RogerEbert.com

“Leaning into its the mythology of its Sudanese characters, coupled with some UK haunted-house tropes, the plight of the refugee, and the strains of trauma on the individual and the couple, His House is an intimate and quietly terrifying film, one whose monsters are wholly believable and understood as much as its humans.” Screen Anarchy

His House is a unique new take on horror from Weekes with great performances by Dírìsú and Mosaku. Every step of the Majurs’ journey is harrowing, but worthwhile when you come out the other side.” Showbiz CheatSheet

“An uneven but impressive debut, His House is at its most persuasively terrifying when it gets out of the house and into the existential terror of reality. Out there are aspects of the refugee experience that contain greater horrors and mortifications than all the blackening plaster, childish ghostly humming and skittering presences in the walls could ever hope to suggest.” Variety

His House falls short of the mark in that it’s too heavy-handed in its message. It’s a sad, depressing drama with some supernatural tropes thrown in. Fortunately, the acting and filmmaking are top-notch, making the sledgehammer screenplay almost forgivable.” We Live Entertainment

His House film movie reviews - Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur

Background:

Writer-director Weekes has commented:

“Unlike traditional haunted house stories where the protagonist might be able to escape, our protagonists – two displaced asylum seekers – do not have the privilege to simply leave.

Rather, they are stuck having to survive within their house. This is often the case in the UK, where asylum seekers have to follow draconian rules when given accommodation. This is also often the case with trauma – you’re stuck having to find ways to survive your grief and finding ways to heal within it.”

Release:

His House premiered at the Sundance festival on January 27th 2020 and will stream on Netflix from Halloween Eve, October 30th 2020.

Cast and characters (alphabetical):

Bradley Banton … Phillip
Mevis Birungi … Aid Worker
Javier Botet
Vivien Bridson … The Queen
Yvonne Campbell … Old Woman
Gamba Cole … George
Rene Costa … Pub Hooligan
Sope Dìrísù … Bol Majur
Andy Gathergood … Church Man
Mark Gooden … Zombie refugee
Marie Hamm … Council estate resident
Ty Hurley … Driver
Cornell John … The Witch
John Kamau … Aid Worker
John Samuel Kande … John-Samuel Kande
Rasaq Kukoyi … William
Kevin Layne … The Cameroonian
Swaylee Loughnane … Man in Pub
Lola May … South Sudanese Woman
Wunmi Mosaku … Rial
Kofi Ossei
Robert Ryan … Shopper
Matt Smith … Mark
Vivienne Soan … Neighbour
Emily Taaffe … Doctor Hayes
Homer Todiwala … Iraqi Man
Matt Townsend … Next door neighbour
Gillian Vassiliou … Passer By
Scott Michael Wagstaff … The Creature

Technical details:

93 minutes

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