Friday, October 30, 2020

His House Review: A Harrowing Immigrant Story Wrapped In A Horror Package


Release date: October 30, 2020
Running time: 93 minutes
Starring:  Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Wunmi Mosaku, Matt Smith
Director: Remi Weekes

After making a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, a young refugee couple struggles to adjust to their new life in a small English town.  However, when strange things begin occurring in their new house, they learn that there is an unspeakable evil lurking beneath the surface.

His House has a slow start as you learn about Bol (Dìrísù) and Rial (Mosaku) and their new life in England.  At first we only know about this new environment, but aspects of their past are slowly revealed as the strange occurrences get more and more pronounced.  In fact, the first bit of this film doesn't even reveal itself to be a horror movie.  But when the strange occurrences begin, the movie ramps up the horror.  And it slowly builds this sense of dread as more and more odd actvity occurs in the house.  The film has a fantastic cast, led by Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Wunmi Mosaku.  Dìrísù is really convincing as a happy immigrant just excited to be in this new area.  And Mosaku is phenomenal as Rial.  We saw Mosaku earlier this year in the wonderful film Sweetness in the Belly, where she played another dramatic role.  Mosaku is an amazing talent and I can't wait to see what she does next.  She is relatable and great at conveying the mixed emotions that she is feeling in this new scenario.  

His House uses horror to tell a harrowing immigrant story, but one that could have been more impactful. The horrors of what they left are touched upon but not in enough detail to really make them stick.  Additionally, the terrible things that happened during their journey to England are also briefly touched upon, but again without enough detail to really be impactful.  I think more could have been made about their reasons for leaving, and the experiences they had on the trip over.  And although the film does use the horror aspects to tell this tale, they are only slightly connected.  The horror builds and builds to a climactic conclusion, but one that feels ridiculous given the careful nature of the first part of the film.  It feels like this movie is two films in one, and it should have lost the horror aspects to instead tell a harrowing immigrant story.  Or if it was going to keep the horror aspect--and don't get me wrong, I love genre mixing and using horror elements--it could have dialed back the horror a little in service of the story.  

His House uses an impressive cast and horror to try and tell a harrowing immigrant story, depicting the horrors that they left and the terrible things that occurred along the way.  

Rent it.

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His House is available to stream on Netflix starting October 30, 2020.

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