‘His House’ Movie Review: The Scariest Horror Movie on Netflix This Halloween
There is something universal about horror. Anyone, anywhere can relate to being scared. Each culture can also bring interesting new colors to horror. His House is an African take on a haunted house movie, and it premieres Oct. 30 on Netflix.
‘His House’ is haunted
Bol (Ṣọpẹ Dírìsú) and Rial Majur (Wunmi Mosaku) escape wartorn Sudan seeking asylum in England. The English government accepts them but the rules are they only get 74 pounds per week to live on, aren’t allowed to get jobs to earn any more and the government picks the house too.
Even a roach infested fixer upper is a blessing to Bol and Rial. They’re willing to make the best of it for a new life. It’s only when Bol starts seeing visions of screaming children and Rial believes there’s a witch in the house that the Majurs want to run. Only because of the rules of asylum, they literally can’t leave.
African ghosts in ‘His House’
The horrors writer/director Remy Weekes unleashes upon the poor Majurs run the gamut of haunting visions. The kid wearing a mask who keeps appearing seems related to Japanese horror icons like The Grudge and The Ring. Where Japanese horror uses a lot of flowing hair and wet bodies, the His House version uses African masks, vines and birds.
Weekes’ horrific visions range from realistic jolts to completely artistic nightmares. One scene where Bol’s dining room becomes afloat is a truly haunting image. And then even more happens to scare Bol.
The social message
A lot of great horror movies intertwine with relevant social messages, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Get Out. The obvious metaphor is immigrants fleeing danger only to wind up in more danger. Bol and Rial are also haunted by the loss of their daughter, Nyagak (Malaika Wakoli-Abigaba).
His House spends time establishing the real world of England outside of the Majurs’ haunted house. Bol gets the lay of the neighborhood and finds a pub to socialize. He waves to a white neighbor but she doesn’t reciprocate. Even Black locals are racist, telling the Majurs to “go back to Africa.”
They have a social worker, Mark (Matt Smith), who looks out for them. Mark knows the system doesn’t actually work, so when Bol starts cracking under the pressures of the haunting, Mark looks out for him. Mark won’t start the process for relocating the Majurs when he knows it will be unfavorable to them. He doesn’t do that horror movie thing where he doesn’t believe the protagonist either. He just works with him.
His House is a unique new take on horror from Weekes with great performances by Dírìsú and Mosaku. Every step of the Majurs’ journey is harrowing, but worthwhile when you come out the other side.