I watched this movie back when it was released in 2020. I’m publishing the review as a recommendation for a fun Halloween scary movie, even though I whine about how I wanted it be better the whole review.
The concept of this film is well timed and unique, paired with a classic horror trope. The movie began strong, reaffirming all of my prior assumptions, but began veering off course fairly quickly. The horrors never stopped, but the more we learned of the characters’ traumas and their following troubles, the less I started to… care.
Horrors, Real and Imagined
The human fear that underlies all good horror films is present, and it’s a unique pain, one that not many western audiences will have experienced, but it’s one that so many are feeling lately. Even worse, it’s a pain and horror that some western audiences are discrediting and refuse to validate, and this rejection is apparent in the way some of the social workers view and treat Bol and Rial, his wife.
The supernatural horrors, though, become very whimsical very quickly. The disconnect between Bol and Rial is difficult to grasp, as is their distrust and then later reconnection. Though Bol does come to terms with his mistakes and tries to make amends for it, the film goes on a bit of an acid trip trying to explain the mystical background behind the horrors, and then completely discredits its own message of self forgiveness and redemption.
Further, the themes of fitting into a new society, or coming to terms with committing sins to survive aren’t really addressed beyond Bol’s one action. For a debutorial effort, the film isn’t poor, but it takes itself so seriously, but fails to resolve its themes and obstacles. 4/10. I do wish for more films about the immigrant experience, especially paired with horror. Horror films have a unique space to explore negative human emotions the same way romances can explore love, coming of age films can explore youth.
His House is available exclusively on Netflix.