The House is billed as a dark, animated comedy, and is told in three chapters, but note that each chapter has different directors as well as a different style of animation, the first part featuring woollen-looking characters.
Chapter I – “And heard within, a lie is spun.” – is set in the 1800s, a time before electricity, when people sat in front of open fires. The family – Mum Penny (Claudie Blakley), Dad Raymond (Matthew Goode), 8-year-old daughter Mabel (Mia Goth) and new baby Isobel – are expecting company, but apparently not very nice people. Is it Hyacinth Bucket?
Well, it may as well be, since they’re a right bunch of grumpy sods. They’re not happy that the family have just had a new baby, and that it’s a girl. In fact, they moan about everything!
But it’s not all downbeat, since a new house is to be built for the family, and it’s a free gift. But what’s the catch? Well, they’re not allowed to bring any posessions from their old house, and given a number of strict rules, it feels reminiscent of the recent BBC drama, The Girl Before.
All I’d feel safe in saying is that some weird and spooky stuff starts happening, including things going bump in the night, but as to what happens precisely, you’ll need to check this out in order to get that answer.
However, when a man called Mr Thomas arrived, I instantly recognised his voice as Mark Heap, most recently seen in Friday Night Dinner. I expected him to shout, “Shalom, Jackie!”
Chapter II – “Then lost is truth that can’t be won” – takes us to the present day, with the house featuring as part of a main street. It features a rat for a building developer, voiced by Jarvis Cocker – who settles into the role very well, so it’d be great to see him in more acting roles.
Alas, despite the house looking quite splendid, ghastly bugs appear out of nowhere, and need dealing with fast.
Plus, prospective buyers come to view the house – one family including a baby called Isobel, but the developer’s work isn’t quite as good as you’d expect. In addition, one couple want to buy the house, but have some quite odd demands, and aren’t in a hurry to leave. Jeez, bog off and let him get some rest!
Finally, Chapter III – “Listen again and seek the sun” – is set in the near future, where the world is now very waterlogged.
Rosa the Cat (Susan Wokoma) is the landlady who tends to the house, putting up new wallpaper and so on. However, bit by bit, the house is falling apart. Meanwhile, one resident, Jen (Helena Bonham Carter), doesn’t pay much in rent, yet invites round her spiritualist boyfriend Cosmos (Paul Kaye), who seems even less likely to be paying any contribution towards the house. And things just get worse for her from there…
In each chapter, weird situations begin and develop, yet never seeming to end, and feeling quite disturbing, although the final chapter did get a bit too weird to get a handle on at times. It’s still worth checking out, though.
Thanks to our friends at Netflix for the screener prior to release.
The House is on Netflix from Friday January 14th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 97 minutes
Release date: January 14th 2022
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Chapter I: 8/10
Chapter II: 8/10
Chapter III: 7/10
Directors Part I: Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels
Director Part II: Niki Lindroth von Bahr
Director Part III: Paloma Baeza
Producers: Charlotte Bavasso, Christopher O’Reilly
Writer: Enda Walsh
Music: Gustavo Santaolalla
Mabel: Mia Goth
Raymond: Matthew Goode
Penny: Claudie Blakley
Isobel: Eleanor De Swaef-Roels
Mr Thomas: Mark Heap
Georgie: Joshua McGuire
Great Aunt Eleanor: Stephanie Cole
Aunt Clarice: Miranda Richardson
Uncle Lucien: David Peacock
Van Schoonbeek: Barnaby Pilling
Flemish Workers: David Peacock
Developer: Jarvis Cocker
Odd couple: Sven Wollter, Yvonne Lombard
Police Officer #1: Bimini Bon Boulash
Police Officer #2: Ayesha Antoine
Visitors & Relatives: Jason Barnett, Wayne Forester, Melanie Hudson, Poppy Gathard, David Holt, Emma Tate, Ayesha Antoine
Rosa: Susan Wokoma
Jen: Helena Bonham Carter
Cosmos: Paul Kaye
Elias: Will Sharpe
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.