A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.
Let's start with the first half of the movie. What I would consider the horror half. This film began very quickly and left very little time for the viewer to get situated. The first 45 minutes were indeed very scary, and I was drawn to the screen. But what made that first half so great, was that it didn't just rely on the usual horror tropes. His House explored themes of racism and all the other challenges that refugees face. These issues were explored in a way that caused tension even outside of the house that works as the centrepiece of the story. Another aspect that created its own horror was distrust and challenges of marriage. This film managed to create an atmosphere of constant terror and tension, and I, for one, really liked it.
The second half, however, moves into a completely different direction. What started as a pure horror film, shifts more and more into a drama as the run time moves towards its end. The horror changes from the typical haunted house style more into creature horror. That's also where the movie stopped being scary for me. I have never found creature horror to be particularly scary and this film didn't change that. I do realize that that is a personal problem, and most people will probably find the second half to be nearly as scary as the first one. But it's not just the normal horror stuff that changes. The two aforementioned aspects of immigration and marriage are almost completely forgotten about. And it is quite unfortunate that this is the case. I felt that they added so much to this movie and made it more than just another haunted house film.
With that being said, I did like the second half nearly as much as I liked the first one. His House end up becoming a rather touching drama by the time it finishes. And if it forgot about the challenges of immigration and marriage, it replaced it with the conundrum of whether to leave ones home country in the first place. Although a new home promises a better life, is that always going to be the reality?
There is a lot to like about His House. I think that it fantastically approached horror by making it about more than just jump scares and a scary atmosphere. I also liked that it was a haunted house film that didn't take place in an abandoned mansion. And, I also liked the second half with everything it had to offer. The thing that lessened my excitement was the fact that I felt like I ended up watching two different films. Had there been more cohesion between the two halves, I'm certain that I would've liked this film quite a bit more.
- Nov 17, 2020