His House not only offers a new take on haunted horrors, but it offers a weaved interpretation of grief and guilt that’s both innovative and effectual. It’s essentially the ideal horror movie for audiences looking for scares and substance.
Writer/director Remi Weekes applies the supernatural to a compelling story about characters seeking refuge. Traveling illegally from South Sudan, couple Bol (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) are caught but offered a probationary stay in London if they follow specific guidelines. It’s a moment of levity after having lost their daughter on their stormy, dangerous trip. But despite their attempts to stay optimistic, it becomes a trying task when their house is borderline inhabitable and located in a lonely community. It turns out there are more peculiarities with the house though, including sights and sounds that tip off that the couple are being closely observed.
Dìrísù and Mosaku carry the movie well, though they tend to drown out their dialogue with their soft-spoken delivery. However, their damaged personalities fit the characters, who are wrestling with the primary conflict of whether their desperation clouded their judgement and priorities. Weekes is fully connected to this emotional turmoil as well, but the film still can’t help but give in to the tropes that come with a haunted house story. Luckily, the filmmaker can rise above the cliches by giving movie goers some freaky jump scares, skin-crawling imagery, and a jaw-dropping creature in its final reveal.
But that final reveal has its flaws, mostly due to a semi-confusing narrative choice that breaks away from a format that was working really well for His House. Still, the final act advances the story and evolves the characters in emotional and challenging ways that most movies would deem as too daring for their liking. Which is why, despite the wobbly execution, His House is still worth your time.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie