His House is a drama/horror/thriller movie written and directed by Remi Weekes, based on a story by Felicity Evans and Toby Venables. It stars Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu and Matt Smith.
The haunting of the past
His House is a horror movie, true, but it’s not just that. I think, for me personally, reality is scarier than horror – there’s a lot that can happen in our lives that are far more horrific than ghosts or demons. This movie talks about that beautifully – how someone’s life can go through absolute hell and how to accept it and eventually move on. There are other very nuanced instances that portray wonderfully how the West looks at people from the not-so-“lucky” East.
His House follows a couple, Rial and Bol, who flee from Sudan after a violent clash and seek asylum in England. However, after moving into their new government-assigned home, they witness the past coming back to haunt them.
This really isn’t a movie about ghosts. Sure, it’s still pretty horrific if you want to see it as a supernatural film, but His House is a movie about loss, acceptance, trauma and belonging. Rial and Bol’s lives are turned upside down when they lose their home and their child, and soon they both start seeing ghosts in their new home. However, these ghosts are not the inhabitants of this place, these are supposed to be the manifestations of their fears and traumas.
When the movie starts, both the characters deal with their losses separately. You can witness that when you see them doing and experiencing things separate from each other. The trauma of their past haunts them, and has probably pushed them apart. That’s why they each have very different reactions to their new surroundings and experiences. While Bol wants to move on from the past and forget it, Rial wants to leave this foreign place and go back home. However, ultimately, they realise that they have to stick together to get through their fears.
His House is a poignant and engaging movie. There’s not a moment where you can look away from the screen, or where you’ll feel bored. The ordeals that the couple go through are horrific to say the least, and what they experience in the new place that they call home is nothing better. The racism that they face might be missed if you don’t pay close attention, but it’s there and it’s glaring if you can find it. It makes your weep for these people.
The direction, cinematography, and especially the background score is on-point. Along with the screenplay, dialogues and acting it creates a movie that makes your blood run cold at the horrors faced by asylum seekers. The direction and cinematography are absolutely amazing. Past and present merge together seamlessly, which is one of the biggest factors of His House. The past is as important as the present – this thought is portrayed wonderfully here. The background score, as well, is spell-binding and provides a layer to the movie that would’ve suffered without it. It’s the right kind of mysterious and creepy, and delivers enough horror to keep you at the edge of your seat.
But, what truly shines in His House are Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu as the lead pair. They are absolutely phenomenal as a traumatise couple trying to move on with their lives. Mosaku’s Rial and Dirisu’s Bol are the right amount of vulnerable and fierce and they portray their fears and loss expertly, making your heart ache for them. You are horrified when they experience something around every corner, and sad when they remember their experiences piece by piece. I don’t think His House would’ve been such a captivating movie without the lead’s expert acting, since the movie wholly rests on them.
Summing up: His House
His House is a must-watch this spooky season. The movie delivers everything that we love – realism and supernatural. It makes you dig deep into the psyche of refugees and take a look at the refugee crisis. However, it also makes you look at people, and reminds you that everyone is going through something. Look at people from their perspectives.
His House is a horror movie. Just, a different kind of horror.
His House is streaming on Netflix.
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