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Review: His House

I can openly admit that I am not a lover of horror movies, parts of Harry Potter definitely had me spooked – but I honestly cannot recommend this film enough. Lockdown is the perfect opportunity for a Netflix binge and this should definitely be at the top of your watch list.

Whilst sitting comfortably in the genre of horror, with the well-loved jump scares and fantastical element, the strength of His House lies in its soberingly human dimension. Bol and Rial are Sudanese refugees seeking asylum in the UK. After a life-threatening journey in which they lost their daughter, the story maps their arrival in England and transfer to a dilapidated house on the outskirts of London in which they ultimately discover: they are not alone.

What director, Remi Weekes, executes so beautifully is the use of the horror genre to emphasise the real life horrors experienced by so many refugees. He makes a powerful juxtaposition between fantasy and reality. Rial’s distress lies more in the everyday than in the fantasy: she fears leaving the house, something we come to realise when we are confronted by the racism that she receives upon going outside. While Bol strives to assimilate, fearing the fantasy. Rial even makes the point that after all she has been through, do you think “it is bumps in the night that scare me?” This forces the audience to consider their own sheltered existence – with no understanding of the horrors she has lived, we are scared by the ‘bumps in the night’. In my opinion the scariest part of the film is that the sections that evoked the most terror were Bol and Rial’s lived memories and I think this is also why the film excels.

The ‘plot-twist’ is, of course, a necessary ingredient in any successful horror movie and this is another aspect of the film that Weekes has achieved flawlessly. Obviously without giving any spoilers, this particular twist masterfully reshapes the meaning of the whole film and lends a new dimension to the nature of this particular haunting, again grounding the story in the very human sphere of guilt and the demons this forces us to confront.

Weekes has taken the overdone motif of the haunted house and dragged it into the 21st century. In my humble opinion, I think this is the first in a formidable fleet of horrors.

3rd Year History Student at Bristol University
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