Title – His House (2020)
Director – Remi Weekes (feature debut)
Cast – Sope Dirisu, Wunmi Mosaku, Malaika Wakoli-Abigaba, Matt Smith
Plot – Fleeing from the war-torn country of South Sudan to England, refugees and married couple Bol (Dirisu) and Rial (Mosaku) are haunted by their past when they move into a government owned building that they now call home.
“Your ghosts follow you. They never leave”
Review by Eddie on 06/11/2020
Creating a significant critical stir at this years Sundance Film Festival where debut director Remi Weeke’s topical horror/drama was quickly snapped up by streaming giant Netflix for a worldwide distribution deal, His House is going to be a divisive film amongst genre fans even if a number of moments in this solid effort suggest Weeke’s is a director to keep a very close eye on.
Certainly more drama than horror, His House will disappoint anyone entering through its doors expecting a fright a minute exercise, not to say there aren’t horrifying moments to be found within of which there are occurrences, with pure horror fans likely to be left severely let down by this small-scale offering that is more focused on the mental trauma and refugee experience of its main characters Bol and Rial.
Played well by Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku respectively, Bol and Rial are realistic examples of those seeking a better life in a Western country and there terrifying escape and tragic circumstances create the backbone of His House’s morals and narrative as the two figures try to deal with their new environment, new house and new horror’s that may be lurking for them both real and imagined.
Similar in some ways to lauded modern Australian horror The Babadook, His House prefers to steep itself more in the realism spectrum of horror even if in its latter stages it goes all out on a more out there finale that will divide appreciation amongst its viewers but regardless of what you feel towards this final stretch it offers some of the films most thrilling and tension riddled moments that are needed after much of the film prefers to slowly get through its material that is mostly thrill free for the majority.
This more event-filled portion of the film is both a good and bad thing for Weekes film with it showing off some great skill by the director to craft some unnerving and unforgettable moments but also his mismanagement of the film throughout much that had come before with a feeling ever present that the genre moulding that film does may’ve been better served had it focused on being an outright horror or a social commentary drama that was more interested in the horror of the everyday rather than the supernatural.
Final Say –
A film with some brilliant moments, intriguing ideas and some solid performances, His House is a valiant attempt at crafting something new and fresh but as a horror film it barely raises a pulse until its final segments hit, while as a dramatic effort its engaging without every becoming a truly gripping experience.
3 prying neighbors out of 5