Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of new horror films to keep you in the spooky mood. One new film to check out is Netflix’s “His House.” The film takes a fresh approach to horror and offers us a completely new take on the traditional haunted house. It is chilling and tragic while offering us a glimpse into some important topics not always addressed in films like this. I’ll give a little glimpse into the plot first and then I’ll dive into some of the important topics the film touches on before finally giving my own views on the film as a whole.
As the film opens up we’re introduced to Bol and Rial Majur. They are refugees from South Sudan who come to England in the hopes of immigrating and starting a new life. We are introduced to the Majurs in a detention center where they have been held while their case is processed. They are granted permission to stay but only on probation as refugees seeking asylum. That being the case, they are granted a weekly allowance and a house in which seemingly they have lucked out because they won’t be crammed into it with other families.
While in the new house they notice there are several issues with the cleanliness and maintenance of the house, but they are happy to have a place to stay and determined to make it a home. This would be much easier if they weren’t constantly being haunted by the trauma of their journey to seek refuge. Through dreams, conversations and subsequent flashbacks, we are given the knowledge that the Majurs had traveled with a daughter. Unfortunately on the treacherous boat ride over to safety, their daughter drowned. This haunts them and causes a rift in their marriage as Bol is eager to push past the trauma and work on becoming well adjusted and Rial is still working through the realization of everything that has happened.
Despite Bol’s seemingly collected external image, we learn that he too is seriously struggling to come to terms with what has happened. This trauma manifests itself in both of the Majurs in the form of witches and ghosts that haunt the house they are desperately attempting to make into a home. The film does a great job with its storyline and creates a beautiful narrative that we think we have a complete grasp of until the last bit of the movie when everything is turned upside down.
The film is full of jump scares and things that make your skin crawl. But furthermore, it addresses important issues such as society’s view of immigrants and refugees. We see the Majurs experience issues like microaggressions leading them to continuously refer to themselves as “one of the good ones.” We also see the pressure that society places on assimilation for people of color and those seeking to immigrate. Aside from that, it gives a glimpse into the terrors that refugees often face in their journey and the lasting psychological damage it can do.
Overall I found “His House” to be a novel horror film with all the makings of a good haunted house story. More than that I really enjoyed the light that the film showed on the issues that those seeking asylum have to face in their journey to a better life. There were a few slow moments and times I felt my interest wandering; however, the important topics addressed as well as the acting and overall mise-en-scène made it a film I would definitely recommend.
In my opinion, the film “His House” gets a final rating of 8/10.