When I first saw the trailer for The House, I was sold. There is a quote by Stephen King that perfectly sums up the feeling that watching the trailer gave me: Sometimes dead is better. Dark, I know, but that’s the feeling I got. If I love one thing in this world more than horror, it’s stop-motion. There is just something about stop-motion that so easily lends to and accentuates the creep factor of any dark tale, and that’s precisely what the trailer for The House was selling.

The House was credited as being an “eccentric dark comedy”, but in reality, the only one of those words it lived up to was “eccentric”. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t hate my time watching The House; I just didn’t love it as much as I expected to, either. The dark wasn’t dark enough, the humour not funny enough, and the sentiment not deep enough.

Created as a collaboration for Netflix (The Witcher; Arcane; The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf) by legendary directors and leading voices in stop-motion Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef (This Magnificent Cake!; Oh Willy…; Mompelaar); Niki Lindroth von Bahr (The Burden; Bath House; Something to Remember) and Paloma Baeza (Poles Apart; The odds; Watchmen) comes a surrealistic stop-motion called The House. A three-episode anthology about a house and those who choose to try and make it their home.

The House Netflix Review

Each of the three episodes has a different director, and each has an entirely different tone and take on the premise of the show. The first episode (my favourite of the bunch) is set back in the 1800s. We get to meet Raymond, his wife and their two young children. As a family, they aren’t rich, but they are happy. However, their impoverished state starts becoming an issue for Raymond when his rich family visits and constantly makes Raymond out to be nothing more than a loser.

When Raymond storms out of the house to clear his head and bumps into a mysterious benefactor who has an offer too good to be true, Raymond agrees without a second thought. The family soon relocates to a mansion that has been specially built and designed for them, but before long, the old saying “be careful what you wish for” starts to rear its ugly head. This episode is by far the creepiest and the darkest of the bunch. Unfortunately for the show as a whole, this episode set a standard that the proceeding episodes just couldn’t seem to match, even if their stop-motion styles were far more aesthetically appealing, in my opinion.

The second episode, the most humorous of the three, is set in the present day. We follow a property developer who invested all he had to fix up a property and is hoping to change his life with the sale. However, nothing ever seems to be on his side. From contractors letting him down to a seemingly unstoppable bug infestation, this house truly takes everything from the developer.

The House Netflix Review

When the time finally comes to open the house to viewings, the developers’ luck still hasn’t turned, and when a family finally shows interest in the house after he was just about ready to throw in the proverbial towel, he jumps at the opportunity. However, this family has other plans, and the episode soon takes a turn that’s not in the developer’s favour.

The third and final episode would be the heartfelt one. Set in a not-to-distant future, we follow a young landlady named Rosa. Rosa is one of the few residents left in a town after the rest have fled due to the rising water levels. Rosa isn’t ready to abandon ship as it were, and rather than fleeing the only home she’s ever known, she hunkers down and turns her house into a commune. Rosa plans to use the rent money to restore the house to its former glory for herself.

As with the previous stories, nothing goes quite according to plan for Rosa and the more she tries to fix her house, the more it crumbles around her. When her only two residents don’t pay their rent once again and invite another person to stay free of charge, Rosa has had enough. This story focuses on change and how fighting it is a lost cause. This episode also has the most “believable” setup of the three.

The House Netflix Review

The House was produced by Nexus Studios, the same production company behind the augmented reality experience used for Marvel Studios’ Eternals as well as Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish and is complete with a fantastic voice cast to support the stop-motion, with the likes of Paul Keye (The Watch; Good Omens; Doctor Who); Jarvis Cocker (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Good Night; Fantastic Mr. Fox); Susan Wokoma (Truth Seekers; Enola Holmes; Crazyhead); Matthew Goode (Watchmen; The Imitation Game; Stoker) and Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Les Miserables; Fight Club) to name a few.

In retrospect, one of my biggest criticisms surrounding The House is that I wish they had structured the order of their episodes differently. After the surreal creepiness of the first episode, the bar was set at a height that the proceeding two episodes didn’t seem able to reach, let alone surpass. Overall, I struggled to stay invested in The House’s stories and found myself constantly reaching for my phone to pass the time until they arrived at the good part, which never seemed to happen.

All three episodes of The House will be available to stream on Netflix, globally, from the 14th of January 2022. Trailer –  source

The House Review

Pros

+ A true visual spectacle from start to finish

+ Wonderful and emotive voice acting

+ Each episode had a unique and intriguing set-up

Cons

- After the first episode, the proceeding two struggled to hit the mark

- Even though the stories each had an interesting set-up, the conclusions mostly felt flat and uninspired

- Overall unsatisfying experience that could, and should, have been so much more

Review Overview
SUMMARY

I don't regret the time I spent binging through The House, but it's also not something I would easily recommend to others or return to myself. While The House is a visual spectacle just waiting for you to marvel over, that's also all it ends up being, which feels like such a waste considering all the talent involved in this project. In conclusion, The House isn't terrible, but it's not great either, and that is truly a shame and a missed opportunity.

2.5

Reviewer for GLITCHED | Comic addict | Gamerholic | Collector who never has enough money

Translation: I have the job that you always wanted & spend a LOT of time in PJs

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