According to director Remi Weekes, His House is a haunted house story about two immigrants trying to make a home in a foreign country. 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.
His House Trailer:
First off, the acting in His House was commendable. Both Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Wunmi Mosaku had great on screen chemistry together. More importantly, they sold the fear and grief that their characters were suffering from. Both of their performances were excellent gateways for audiences to really feel the weight this film tried to convey in its themes.
His House really does an effective job of making the haunted house scares truly unsettling. I loved how it didn’t rely on cheap jump scares to keep audiences on edge. Rather, Director Remi Weekes allowed for some traditional setups, but still managed to find a way to ease viewers into the horror. The utilization of both the setting of the house and the cinematography was well executed. One example could be found in some of the over the shoulder camera angles, that blurred out the background just enough where your eyes can still play tricks on you. In addition to that, using the dark and dimly lit setting further amplified the creepy situations when an entity may appear. Either way, you’re going to get spooked whether you expect it or not.
Probably the greatest strength of His House is how it successfully nails its themes. The general theme of surviving with trauma and grief is perfectly balanced with the visual horrors we see in the film. I liked how ambiguous the main characters’ visions were because we can’t tell if it’s really happening or if it’s all in their head. Plus, having both characters go through this together really emphasized how much trauma can have a collective impact on people, and not just on an individual basis.
I suppose some minor issues with the film will come from the writing. I think it took awhile for the resolution and the big reveal to happen. The longer it was teased out, the higher the expectation became for the payoff to be worthy. It may be debatable if the revelation of the main characters is satisfying for some audiences.
Beyond that, the exposition about the paranormal things happening in the house didn’t tie in well enough with the actual ending. Early in the film, we’re given an explanation of the evil in the house. However, I don’t think that there was a clear explanation to directly connect that evil to the main characters.
Lastly, there were some random scenes in His House that seemed odd in their placement. It’s totally understandable that the predominant message in this film is about how refugees aren’t accepted in a society, or how they may be discriminated against. However, there were moments that seemed strange as to why they were included. You had scenes with a little kid pushing a baby stroller, or another kid trying to say hello to one of the characters as they walked outside. Neither of which appeared to have any relevance to what main story or the themes in play.
His House takes a haunted house story and turns into a wakeup call about the more horrific situations refugees encounter. I really appreciate the attention this film brought to this situation that doesn’t often get talked about. It’s always a good sign if you can use the traditional tactics of a genre, and still manage to throw in another layer on top of it. It really didn’t matter if there were some areas of the film that could be picked apart, because you still walk away understanding the director’s main objective. I think His House is well worth the watch for any horror fans on Netflix.
Director: Remi Weekes
Screenplay by: Remi Weekes
Story by: Felicity Evans and Toby Venables
Cast: Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Wunmi Mosaku And Matt Smith
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography - 7/107/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 6/106/10
- Setting/Theme - 8/108/10
- Buyability - 8/108/10
- Recyclability - 6/106/10