The House (2022)
the house | paolma baeza | emma de swaef | niki lindroth von bahr | marc james roles | enda walsh | johannes nyholm | mia goth | matthew goode | claudie blakley | animation | comedy | drama | fantasy | mystery | thriller | united states | united kingdom | helena bonham carter
Film: The House
Directors: Paloma Baeza, Emma De Swaef, Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Marc James Roles
Writers: Enda Walsh, Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roles, Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Johannes Nyholm and Paloma Baeza
Starring: Mia Goth, Matthew Goode and Claudie Blakley
This is a movie that I don’t know how I knew about. I found it since I needed an animated feature for an October movie challenge. This also doubles as a 2022 watch as well. Another aspect that pulled me in was seeing that Mia Goth was a voice of a character as well. That was about the extent of what I knew.
Synopsis: across different eras, a poor family, an anxious developer and a fed-up property owner become tied to the same mysterious house in this animated dark comedy.
Since I’ve already established that I came into this one blind, I didn’t realize that it was an anthology. There are three stories and something else that didn’t connect until writing this was that all three revolve around the same house.
Our first story is ‘And Heard Within a Lie is Spun’ and we are following a family. The father is Raymond (Matthew Goode) and he’s married to Penelope (Claudie Blakley). They live in a modest house with their two daughters, Mabel (Mia Goth) and Isobel (Eleanor De Swaef-Roels). They seem to have a good life, but Raymond wants more. He drinks because of it. It doesn’t help when family shows up and puts them down as well.
Their lives change though when Raymond gets drunk and goes off into the woods. He finds an odd litter there. He is beckoned inside. When he returns home, he is famished. His wife makes him food and he passes out while eating. The next morning, he reveals what happened. A man by the name of Van Schoonbeek offered to build them a house. A Mr. Thomas (Mark Heap) shows up to finalize the deal. They move in at once. It becomes a nightmare though as the house is under constant construction. Raymond and Penelope fall victim to their devices as their daughters get lost in this labyrinthian maze. This is only part of the nightmare.
The second story is ‘Then Lost is Truth That Can’t Be Won’. This follows a developer, voiced by Jarvis Cocker. I should point out that he’s a mouse. He is trying to restore this house to flip it. He took out a loan to do so and he’s poured everything that he has into it, including doing the work himself to save money. An open house is held to sell the place and he gets a couple of potential buyers. They might have other plans for the place though.
Then our last story is ‘Listen Again and Seek the Sun’. For this one, we are in an area that is flooded. Sitting on a tiny piece of land is the house from the earlier two stories. Rosa (Susan Wokoma) is a cat that owns it. She has big plans. The problem is that she doesn’t have the money. It doesn’t help that she has two tenants who don’t pay rent with money. Jen (Helena Bonham Carter) is a free spirit that pays with crystals and Elias (Will Sharpe) pays with fish. Rosa is frustrated even more when Cosmos (Paul Kaye) shows up. He’s a friend of Jen’s and he tells Rosa he can help her. The waters are creeping up on her building to complicate things further.
That is where I’m going to leave the recap of these stories without going into spoilers. Where I want to start is that this is an interesting, animated anthology. How seamless this was done impressed me. The first story looks to be done with dolls and with the texture of all three, I wouldn’t be shocked if that is what they did for all of them. I will start with filmmaking as well. It is amazing in my opinion. I’m assuming there are some computers used here, but it didn’t take me out of anything. I would be curious for a behind the scenes to see how things were done to be honest.
With that out of the way, I’ll go about each of these stories next. For the first one, it is an interesting cautionary tale. Raymond and Penelope live within their means. It is their families that make them feel bad about it. They also call Raymond out on being a drunk like his father. I take it that he is depressed about how’s treated by them so that makes a vicious circle. This is a ‘be careful what you wish for’. There is also a bit about obsession as well. I thought the voices were all good. It was interesting that Goth’s voice was synced to a child. It worked with how innocent she can make it sound to be honest. That was impressive. This short set the tone and hooked me. This isn’t horror per say, just as a heads up. There is an atmosphere though with how things go when they move into the house.
We get more of that with the second story as well. This is one where I felt bad for the developer. He tries so hard to get ahead. It seems like his girlfriend broke up with him or his wife left. He is trying to flip this house to get her back. He is doing everything in his power, but it doesn’t seem to be working out. This isn’t necessarily horror either. It goes to dark places by the end. There is also this insect infestation that is gross. What they do here with the sound design did add quite a bit for me. I commend them to do this with animation and still make me feel that way. I liked where this one ended up as well.
Now the least horror of bunch is the last one. There is a bit of a depressing feel in that no matter how hard Rosa works, it doesn’t end up as she envisions. I’ve tried as hard for things like she is and when it doesn’t work out, it is disheartening. Rosa is a good person. She is allowing these people to trade in lieu of rent, but there’s this feeling they’re taking advantage of her. They see her as a friend, but she doesn’t necessarily share that sentiment until later into this. I think this has good heart, especially where it ends up. Like the rest of these, we get good voice acting to bring these characters to life.
There isn’t much more that I need to go into for this. In conclusion, this is a solid anthology. It isn’t as much horror as I wanted, but we get more of that atmosphere in the first two. This is a well-made movie though. I was impressed with the filmmaking. The animation is smooth. I think that the voice acting fit to bring these characters to life. Even if this doesn’t go as dark as I would have liked, there is good heart with what they are trying to convey which I do appreciate.
My Rating: 7 out of 10