Title: The House
Director(s): Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Paloma Baeza, Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels
Actor(s): Matthew Goode, Jarvis Cocker, Helena Bonham Carter
Genre: Adult Animation/Horror
Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes
Dark and insanely creative, The House is a must-watch for people who like exploring animation beyond Disney and Pixar (even though Disney and Pixar are amazing, don’t get me wrong.) The movie is made up of three offbeat, subversive, and creepy stories that are tonally very different- and with different styles of stop-motion animation- but are set in the same house.
The first story is set in the 19th Century (?) when a family of modest income is suddenly gifted a beautiful new home. Of course, there’s a catch- and a resourceful little girl (voiced by Mia Goth) and her baby sister are the only people not seduced by their strange new dwelling.
The second story seemingly set in modern times (with cell phones and the like) is about an anthropomorphic mouse real estate agent (voiced by Jarvis Cocker, the front man of the Brit-pop band Pulp) who’s pinned all his hopes on selling the house but is bothered by strange potential buyers and a repulsive insect infestation.
The third story is set in the future, after global warming has radically changed the world and another anthropomorphic protagonist (a cat, voiced by Susan Wokoma) who’s trying to restore the house and successfully ignore her annoying roommates. The first two are more horror (especially part one) while the third story has a more whimsical, hopeful tone despite very possibly being set in a world on brink of apocalypse.
The tonal differences mean that the movie stays fresh, and you never know where it’s going or what turn the next story is going to take. The animation is amazing, and I loved how striking and alive the characters looked, painstakingly put together and covered with felt and fur so technically impressive you want to reach out and touch them.
I especially loved the details like how in the first story you can actually see the light of a fire reflected in a puppet’s beady eye. The only criticism I have is that even though the directors and styles are different, I wished the stories could have been a little more cohesive/ fit together in a way that created a lore for the titular house.
The house is literally the only thing the stories have in common, and I had so many unanswered questions by the end. Otherwise, this is a beautifully strange film and definitely one of the best Netflix Originals I’ve seen. I’m a fan of stop motion animation and aesthetically, this movie is close to flawless.