Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Across different eras a poor family, an anxious developer and a fed-up landlady become tied to the same mysterious house in this animated dark comedy.
Review: I loved it! The House is one of those rare gems where horror and animation meet to combine into something wonderful and otherworldly.
Divided into three stories and animated utilising stop motion, The House manages to be genuinely creepy (at least two out of three times), wholly original, yet evoking memories of great horror anthologies like Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt.
The first segment called And Heard Within, A Lie is Spun tells the tale of a family that lives a contented but poor life to the disappointment of their more affluent relatives. One night father Raymond meets a mysterious architect who offers to build and furnish a magnificent home for them to live in for free. The family moves in and while the parents are enamoured by the glamour and wealth of their new abode, daughter Mabel and her baby sister Isobel immediately sense something is very wrong.
It’s a tale of the spider and the fly combined with a lesson on why one should appreciate what one has before it’s too late. The segment seems to lift inspiration from films like The Shining and even Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the stop-motion animation along with the very talented voice cast (Matthew Goode, Claudie Blakely, Mia Goth, Miranda Richardson) imbue this tale with genuine chills and suspense. Of the three segments I felt like this was the creepiest, while the second one was most definitely the grossest. Speaking of which…
The second segment titled Then Lost is Truth That Can’t be Won, felt like an amalgamation of one of Creepshow’s most memorable segments, They’re Creeping Up on You, and the 1990 thriller Pacific Heights which starred Michael Keaton as the tenant from hell. To say more would be to spoil things as this segment changes time and uh, species, but what starts off with a darkly comedic turn ends in what can only be described as nightmare fuel.
The third and final story is the most uplifting of the bunch and is called Listen Again and Seek the Sun. This one takes place in an unspecified time in the future and of the three segments it’s the least terrifying but it’s also the most thought-provoking. Telling the tale of a seemingly post-apocalyptic time when most of the world is under water, the house (remember it’s the same house previously seen) has managed to survive and is now owned by a landlady named Rosa (who’s a cat, as is everyone else in this timeline).
She dreams of restoring the house but her tenants don’t make things easy by paying her in fish or crystals. One day a cat named Cosmos arrives by boat and at first Rosa thinks he’s okay because he offers to barter for his stay by repairing the house. But she quickly realises that Cosmos is there for an entirely different reason.
Helena Bonham Carter, Will Sharpe, Paul Kaye and Susan Wokoma bring this cast to life and, as mentioned before, this one is less creepy and more eerie (in places) than the others. Yet I think it was the perfect way to conclude the story The House, as what we’re left with still draws on the otherworldly but also leaves a sense of hope and wonder.
Any movie that utilises stop-motion animation gets instant points from me as the technical work that goes into these stories are mind-boggling. The facial expressions in the first segment and the lighting employed to add to these expressions bring about so much emotion. And you throw in the fact this is a horror-anthology, well I’m caught hook line and sinker. It won’t be everyone’s cup o’ tea and it’s by no means an instant classic or such, but there’s enough charm and uniqueness here to make The House definitely worth recommending.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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