His House

Dept. Of Housing and Hauntings


Horror movies work to a rhythm. A delicate dance performed between the filmmakers and the audience, the director conducting the ebb and flow of tension with their audience. Drawing the viewer in, teasing them with quiet moments, before, when they least expect it, unleashing a scare, or when the time is right, true, unrelenting horror. Films like Hereditary, The Ring, or Us often rearrange the steps, or mess with the tempo but they still build to a crescendo. His House subverts the rhythm of horror even more than those films, but with a little less success.              

The house of the title is a squalid dwelling, entrusted to Bol and Rial Majur, two South Sudanese refugees settled in a part of England that no one will tell them the name of. It’s a house with no lighting (“We’ll fix that”), with cockroach infested pizza in the kitchen (“Didn’t have time to get the cleaners”), but that everyone seems to insist is a palace (“Bigger than my ‘ouse”).


Along with the difficulties inherent in settling into a new life, surviving on 74 pound a week with little to no assistance and unable to work, the Majurs also have to deal with the lingering trauma from their dangerous trip to the UK. While they try to leave the horror and death behind them, the actions they took on that road to a new life, and the people they thought they’d left behind, might not be gone after all.

This is MY House

His House starts incredibly well, highlighting the real-world horror of the refugee system, where everyone the refugees deal with is so worn down that they just don’t seem to care, even when represented by the charming face of Matt Smith. Refugees who have survived unimaginable horrors are moved about with the same care and attention as packing crates. Every person they interact with, treats them carelessly, as they have no direct control over their fate. “It’s not me who needs convincing,” one officer replies to Bol’s statement that they are good people.

As Bol and Rial settle into their new home, the scares start to settle in too and Bol starts being visited by something every night. As Rial comes to deal with the spirits in a completely different manner to her husband, there’s never any doubt these are real and not the manifestations of PTSD. They’re also terrifying.


First time feature director Remi Weekes builds some terrific scares around noises behind the plasterboard and half seen figures in the dark, building to some incredibly unsettling imagery that made me jump more than once.

As the horror reaches almost unbearable levels however, I noticed that the film was only halfway through its runtime. How on Earth would it manage to maintain this level of tension for the rest of its runtime?

The answer is, that it doesn’t. As the nature of the terror in the house becomes apparent, the film switches tack: from facing the ghosts of your past, to learning to live with them.

Not So Good Old Days

It’s a bold move. Sidelining some of the supernatural horror to fill in the nightmare Bol and Rial escaped. The horror they endured and some horrors they themselves might have perpetrated along the way.  The only problem I had with this, was that the first half was so scary, that the second felt like a bit of a letdown in comparison. The climactic confrontation doesn’t quite live up to the earlier scares either.

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This doesn’t mean the film is a failure by any stretch of the imagination. The performances by Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù (Gangs of London, Humans) and Wunmi Mosaku (Ruby in the recent smash Lovecraft Country) are completely gripping. Weekes stages some impressively imaginative frights. Smartly using his single location for the most part, before extending it out into impressive, surreal dream sequences. 

After a first half that featured scares that had me jumping out of my seat, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up even with the lights on, the resolution in the climax felt a little unsatisfying. His House still stands out as an unexpected horror and Remi Weekes a director to keep an eye on.

His House
93 minutes
Director: Remi Weekes
Screenplay: Remi Weekes
Story: Felicity Evans and Toby Venables
Cast: Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù, Wunmi Mosaku, Malaika Wakoli-Abigaba, and Matt Smith

His House is now streaming on Netflix.

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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