Written by Enda Walsh, ‘The House‘ is a stop-motion anthology film following three different stories set in the same house. Nexus Studios produced it for Netflix, which streamed it exclusively. It was originally pitched as a TV show before becoming a movie.
In the first story, Raymond (Matthew Goode) and Penelope (Claudie Blakley) along with their young daughter Mabel (Mia Goth) and baby Isobel live in poverty and receive no help from their family. They are approached by a famous architect’s assistant Mr. Thomas (Mark Heap) about living in his employer’s new house. Once they move in, Mabel begins to notice that the house is constantly changing, but her parents seem unaware. It gets more and more sinister, but Mabel and her sister can’t stop it.
The second story follows a mouse developer (Jarvis Cocker) who has renovated the house. Financially strained, everything depends on the upcoming showing, but he keeps running into a bug infestation and a pesky bank inspector. The show is a disaster, but an oddly shaped man (Sven Wollter) and woman (Yvonne Lombard) seem interested. However, they refuse to leave, driving the developer insane.
Finally, a cat landlady named Rosa (Susan Wokoma) has taken control of the house after a massive flood. Her two tenants Elias (Will Sharpe) and Jen (Helena Bonham Carter) cannot pay rent. Jen’s boyfriend Cosmos (Paul Kaye) arrives but offers to fix the house in return for staying on the property. Soon, his repair work gets more and more bizarre as the flood encroaches on the house.
The stop-motion animation was pretty impressive and lept into the arthouse vibe. The studio did a good job with the characters’ movements, emotions, and overall designs. They definitely put a lot of effort and hard work into making everything seem realistic.
I also liked the performances of the cast. Everyone did an excellent job with their respective roles. Once again, Helena Bonham Carter delivered on every level. She is a true actress and an excellent performer in both live-action and voice acting.
The individual stories were interesting. Each seemed to question what a home is to us, that if we put too much stock into the house itself, it became something sinister that absorbs our identity. Each one’s ability to deliver this message varied, but in the end, it came off as incredibly bizarre. It sought to be deep, but the imagery created a distraction for the messaging.
Botton line, The House might please the arthouse crowd, who will no doubt pick apart its themes. To the casual viewer, you might enjoy the performances and the stop-motion intrigue, but it becomes confusing with what it is trying to say.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Frightening images, Some violence, Disturbing scenes
FAVORITE QUOTE: There are never any plans.
Check out the trailer below:
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