REVIEW: ‘The House’ is Uncanny, Creepy, and Gorgeous

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The House - But Why Tho

The importance we place on places and things are gigantic. In some ways, the things we attach ourselves to become us. That concept is what The House explores in three chapters. A darkly comedic anthology, this stop-motion animated film enters an uncanny value with surreal interpretations on the concepts of home. With eccentricities, the film tells three separate tales of a house and the individuals who have made it their home. Chapter I was directed by Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, Chapter II is directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr, and Chapter III is directed by Paloma Baeza and is produced by Nexus Studios. Additionally, the anthology features voice-over work by Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew Goode, Susan Wokoma, Mia Goth, and Will Sharpe.

The House is expertly crafted with some of the most beautiful stop-motion animations I’ve ever seen. That beauty is due to the ability to craft intimate stories that edge on adorable while weaving in unsettling threads of isolation and hopelessness. A horror radiates throughout the anthology that creates a somber tone. Chapter I is bleak, Chapter II is bleaker, and suddenly, Chapter III becomes a hopeful look at letting go.

Chapter I artfully builds tension and dread in a morphing house, a family pulled inside it, and a mystery that gets more unsettling with every minute that passes. Immediately, Chapter I of The House is intriguing, with felt characters that ride the line between sweet and disturbing. With a tight script and little dialogue, light and expression go a long way to showcasing the building dread in the house as questions begin to mount and the children begin to fear their new home. It’s a simple story that deftly displays how we can be consumed by the four walls we call home, but Chapter I expertly builds tension and fear slowly. With an unnerving score and use of light, Chapter I is a scary way to begin the journey of The House and what a way it is

As a change of time period, Chapter II sees an anthropomorphic rat flipping a house that he’s sunken every bit of his money and life into. But, a new coat of paint, a new kitchen, and a bougie fish tank can’t hide the house’s bug problem. When two rats stay behind after an open house, the renovator finds himself pushed to the brink by the squatters, forced to confront what sinking your life into one object can do when that thing doesn’t return the investment.

Finally, Chapter III is all about letting go when an anthropomorphic cat landlord tries to collect rent from her tenants only to realize that a house and money are nothing without living. The most wholesome of all the vignettes in this anthology, Chapter III, ends with hope and ultimately completes the anthology’s message. All of this beauty and sadness and story is perfectly pulled into the ending credits song, “This House Is…” from Jarvis Cocker and Gustavo Santaolalla.

The House works as an anthology because, despite its spanning time period and atmosphere, it’s united in a call to see beyond the house that is just bricks and to look for something to keep us alive. A push against the capitalistic dream of homeownership, I can’t praise The House enough. In dark and humble narratives with fantastical animation, The House is a home to reclaim yourself.

The House is streaming exclusively on Netflix January 14, 2022.


The House
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

The House works as an anthology because, despite its spanning time period and atmosphere, it’s united in a call to see beyond the house that is just bricks and to look for something to keep us alive. A push against the capitalistic dream of homeownership, I can’t praise The House enough. In dark and humble narratives with fantastical animation, The House is a home to reclaim yourself.