Movie Review: His House
Every English town has some horrid, unspeakable evil underlying their market squares. Their pubs and pop-up shops built on villainous grounds. Marked up prices dominating the window shoppers’ field of view, vile surroundings, cheap tat, and cheaper people mulling around the drab streets of whichever bottomless pit of a town you were brought up in. His House takes some of that head-on with an outsider perspective. Whilst we’re used to the monotony, this Netflix horror original takes hold of those thankful to be here, in the land that strikes up shades of tedious grey.
At its core, His House has some reasonably strong performances. Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku are palatable leading stars, solid characters dealing with violent surroundings out to get them. Dirisu captures the trauma of fleeing a war-torn country early on, both the leads are given ample time to grip these emotionally high-strung moments, most used as faux pieces of flashback horror. His House manages to play with its title well, showing our characters in a state of fearful isolation. It’s not their home, they’ve been assigned there by the government. The “His” in question merely suggests a void of responsibility. With nobody there to pick up the slack, sad stories similar to those trying to inherit a new culture are far too common.
Direction from Weekes’ feature debut leaves a lot to be desired. Considering how cheap horror films are to make these days, His House is a nice shot of energy in just the right place. Genuinely scary moments from time to time, feeling rather cheap as they may be with jump scares frequently encroaching, but they’re forgivable considering the story and reasoning behind them. Charged with a magnificent composition, and stark consistency from Dirisu, His House has admirable attempts at curating some unique moments of horror. It feels flat, though, standard breaches of the peace followed up with a foreboding conclusion. We get what we’d expect, but nothing more than that.
A harrowing thought to see men, women, and children herded like cattle. That isn’t the sole horror in His House, beyond the system that subjects hopeful citizens to drawn-out legal torture, there are the usual terrors found in a haunted house. Who would’ve thought we’d see a haunted house make its way back to the world of film? Still, if you’ve ever been to Britain, the terrors of some council estates are very real, although the demons that haunt them don’t appear to be beasts and horrors, more guzzlers of Stella Artois. Weekes and his cast can take pride in a horror film that gets to grips with some musings on mental health and immigration, but it’s a little too light to make all that grand an impact.