The House review: Don’t you need planning permission for that?

The House is a stop animation, three-part anthology about a house that’s currently on Netflix. Each part is directed and acted by different people with a story by Enda Walsh. The stories are not intertwined but the house is a connection between them. The stop animation is wonderfully done, with each part having different types of puppets and sets. The animation is a marvel, as is the voice acting, which suits the creations superbly.

And Heard Within, a Lie is Spun

the house and family

The first story is a sinister tale, with ominous music tugging at your feelings of unease. It’s a tale set in the 1800s where a couple (Mathew Goode and Claudie Blakley) have their extended family visiting to see their new baby.

From arriving at his cottage home in the country, the man’s family berate him for his lack of success, and in turn, his lack of manhood. The man, through a chance late-night encounter with a stranger in the woods, is given a house and lands. All he has to do is leave his cottage and everything in it and move to the new house with his family.

The story is told from the perspective of the family’s daughter Mabel (Mia Goth) and the baby Isabel. On arrival to their marvellous new house, they find it occupied by strange workmen. These workmen are still working on bits of the interior. The house is a bit of a maze but the man and his wife are enamoured, neigh, enslaved by it’s wonder.

However, their children see that there is something wrong as the strange workmen are continuously changing the interior of the house. Sadly, their parents have become more interested in the new house than their own children. This plot plods along until the obvious conclusion is reached. The only twist being a lack of any climax.

Then Lost is Truth That Can’t Be Won

a mouse in the house

The second story is set in modern times. However, we find ourselves in a world where mice are the dominant species. We have developer (Jarvis Cocker), who has acquired the house and is fixing it up to sell at a huge profit. He’s poured his heart, soul and all his finances into the project. The country is in a recession and he has bills overdue and loans outstanding. As he’s reaching the point where he can show off his luxury house, he finds that the place is infested with bugs.

The story is a race for the mouse to sell the house before it all comes crashing down and. with it. his sanity. As the story unfolds we have the stressed-out developer spiralling deeper into desperation. It’s well told through visuals that add unease to the viewer. The end seems as if it is trying too hard to be ‘profound’. Or maybe I just don’t get what the writer was trying to say.

Listen Again and Seek the Sun

The third of the stories takes place after what one assumes is large scale flooding after global warming. The waters are rising and the house is the only thing standing. Rosa (Susan Wokoma) is a cat who is in charge of the boarding house with only two tenants left. Elias (Will Sharpe) and Jen (Helena Bonham Carter).

Rosa has grand plans for the house. But her only tenants left do not have money to pay, so she cannot realise her dream. She cannot see that money is useless as there is nowhere to buy the supplies to fix up the house. Throughout the story her tenants try to persuade her to see the reality of what is going on. But she cannot and will not accept it.

With the arrival of Jen’s cosmic hippie partner Cosmos (Paul Kaye), Rosa starts seeing her plans fall apart in front of her. Yet she still will not abandon the house. She somehow doesn’t die a horrible death drowning in the house because they constructed a happy ending. At this point, I was so bored that I was like ‘sure, that really makes no sense’ but can I blame Rosa for not leaving? I could have left The House after 5 minutes and I’m still here.

The House conclusion

As you might have picked up I didn’t enjoy The House. But the critics did and so it seems do a lot of other people. Its sitting at time of writing at 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. I am not a lover of the genre of short stories though.

Visually, it is wonderfully crafted and put together. However, I feel that cannot carry the stories which try to be profound for the sake of being clever. But we all know that it is easier to criticise writing than to actually write.

For those with a love for short stories, or if stop animation is your thing, then you will probably love The House. But for me it’s a:


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