The House is a stop-action animated film released on Netflix. The film interweaves 3 stories, set in 3 different timelines through the setting in which they are set. The setting, as the name implies, is an eerie, unpleasant house that arouses the audience's dread from the very first moment they see it.
The first story, 'I: And heard within. A lie is spun', is directed By Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels. It captures the plight of a poor family of four that gets an offer to live in a bigger house with several privileges. Unable to deny the offer and the greed to be in a materialistically better place compels them to break their old house and enter this mansion.
This new house is dark and distressing from very first sight. In doing so, it establishes the mood for the rest of the story. The visuals are unsettling throughout and foreground the dark ending to the story.
The second story, 'II: Then lost is truth that can't be won', is set in a modern period. It is directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr. The story is anthropomorphic. The story revolves around a contractor looking for people to buy the house. But, they're rats! Rats that walk, talk, and eat just like people. The visuals in this story are excellent but leave the audience very disconcerted. The eeriness begins from when we spot bugs in the house but intensifies when we see the potential buyers' introductions, behaviors, and appearance. This is personally a favorite story of ours because of the ending and the hidden several layers in it.
The third story, 'III: Listen again and seek the sun', too is anthropomorphic in style. It is directed by Paloma Baeza and is set soon to the second story. The surroundings of the house are flooded and the house is about to drown. All except the protagonist want to leave this desolate and bleak house. Here, the anthropomorphic element is that they are all cats, and if the place had been infested with rats, these would be the next animals to take over the place. This story is the only one that has a glimmer of hope at the end (Thankfully!).
The animation is charmingly heedless. Several subtle symbols are woven into the storyline. For example, the dollhouse burning up in the first story, and the protagonist sleeping covered in bugs in the second story.
Despite being a stop-action animated film, the story is far from being suitable for children. The themes, imagery, and visuals are overburdening and create a sense of anxiety and uneasiness throughout. Darkness permeates the entire production. The only story with decently light visuals is the second one: - 'II: Then lost is truth that can't be won.'
Needless to say, the voice cast did a great job. The dreadful sound matched perfectly with the setting of the story creating a clear sense of the mood. The stories somehow stick with the audience. Each story presents a protagonist that audiences can identify with.
Each story lasts approximately 30 minutes and is slow-paced. Although it takes some getting used to the dark stories and the pace, this movie quickly becomes a favorite.
Final Score – [8.5/10]
Reviewed by – Aalaya Sonti
Follow her @layaarants on Twitter
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