The House (2022) Review: Whimsical Elements With Palpable Horror

The House only really comes together during its closing act, which finds the three disparate threads converging into one final confrontation. It’s currently streaming on Netflix from January 14 and stars Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew Goode, Claudie Blakley, alongside other cast members. What feels like three different movies awkwardly crammed together into one becomes an unexpectedly cohesive whole. It doesn’t entirely make up for how uneven The House can be along the way, but it helps.

The House review does not contain any spoilers

The House Has Its Own Set of Quirks and Characteristics

While each tale features its own unique story, some elements link them together. A house is where the inhabitants are given free rein to be themselves, as long as they don’t break the rules.

The House looks like something you’d find on an animated movie channel in the middle of your favourite cartoon block. There are bright and dark colours; there are dramatic characters and silly characters—all of which come together to make this cartoon anthology work.

The House (2022) Review: Whimsical Elements With Palpable Horror

The animation style is unique in its way, with stop motion being used instead of traditional two-dimensional or three-dimensional computer animation.

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An Unconventional Narrative Offers Exposition in ‘The House’ Plot

Rather than a singular narrative, the anthology focuses on three stories. The House is uniquely animated and voiced by a variety of vocal artists. It is a quirky series with appeal for audiences of all ages, who will find something to enjoy in the series’ humour.

It’s not an anthology in the traditional sense — there’s no overarching story told throughout a season, just three standalone tales that the house itself connects.

The House (2022) Review: Whimsical Elements With Palpable Horror

Each of these stories has its unique tone and style, but they could collectively be called horror-comedy. The episodes are scary enough to give you goosebumps and gross you out at times, but they’re also funny enough to keep you laughing throughout.

The House is more interested in its characters than its surroundings; the house catalyzes self-reflection rather than as a space where monsters hide.

The House Emulates a Different Style of Film-Making

It is a series of horror shorts, taking place in the same house. The theme links the stories, but they’re all different genres. Some are funny, some are scary, and others are plain weird. Themes include love, anxiety, guilt and revenge. Each episode ends with an unexpected twist that works with the episode’s theme.

The House (2022) Review: Whimsical Elements With Palpable Horror

The House Netflix’s structure allows it to bounce from one episode to the next with little friction, though the overall effect can be disorienting. It has a familiar, cartoonish aesthetic and an episodic, anthology-style narrative structure that the company loves.

At the same time, it’s also a Netflix movie in that it’s weird and aggressively transgressive, building its bizarre little world even as it pays homage to the scary homes of horror classics like The Amityville Horror and The Shining.

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A Tiny Movie With Big Ideas – The House’s Premise Is Simple

It’s about death, both literal and figurative. It’s about growing older and dying younger. It’s about how we try to fill the void, whatever it may be. It’s about how the things that seem like they will bring us happiness often do not.

This is not an easy film to watch. The animation process is painstakingly slow and combined with the deliberately paced storytelling and droning ambient music, it can feel like watching paint dry in places. But there’s also something hypnotic about watching these characters struggle on their lonely island while they await their inevitable departure.

The House (2022) Review: Whimsical Elements With Palpable Horror

Told in three chapters, each one showcasing a different period for the same house, The House is like three short films bundled together into one.

Stream It or Skip It?

The animation is beautiful: the characters are well-crafted, with expressive faces and body language; the sets are well-realized, and the lighting is excellent.

It all adds up to a surprisingly tactile viewing experience – one which reminds us that stop motion has always been more than just an art form – but we do wish there was more of it.

The House is streaming on Netflix.

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The House is a charming watch, thanks to how wonderfully it's made and the interesting way the storyline flows.


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