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Netflix’s “The House” is a disturbing stop-motion film with something to say

 | News Today

Netflix’s “The House” is a disturbing stop-motion film with something to say

| Business News Today | News Today


Every now and then while watching The House, a new stop-motion movie on Netflix, I would remember that every frame had been meticulously set up and photographed, and my mind would be blown away again.

This is a detail easy to forget, as it is easy to get lost in the captivating tale of the three animated shorts that make up The House. Each tale – which, while lively, is dark, creepy, and morbid and decidedly not for young children – centers on a different house. Houses are beacons of corruption, objects of scams, and symbols of thwarted dreams. The protagonists enter, exit, repair them, dismantle them and take them to sunset. And with the three houses come lessons on materialism, deception, and letting go.

The first tale, simply titled “Story 1”, is directed by Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef, a Belgian duo of stop-motion filmmakers. Roels and Swaef’s beautiful setting takes viewers back to the 1800s, where a family of four (all vaguely off-putting cloth dolls) lived in a modest house. After a visit from his overly critical mother, family man Raymond (voiced by Matthew Goode) takes a drunken night walk and makes a deal with a mysterious architect who offers to give the family a luxurious new home for free. The only problem? They have to leave all their old possessions behind.

Raymond’s wife, Penny (Claudie Blakey) is hesitant at first, but quickly gets on board when she sees that the house comes with a high-end sewing machine. Husband and wife are so enamored with their new possessions – a gorgeous fireplace, light bulbs, fancy fabrics – that they completely ignore their two children, Mabel (voiced by Mia Goth) and baby Isobel. I won’t spoil the end of the story, but it does come with a gruesome Edgar Allen Poe twist to make sure they pay for their sins. All the while, you’re caught up in the world, but you’ll remember the artistic feat with wide shots that reveal an elaborate diorama, like a scene where Raymond gazes out the window as his old house is demolished. It is at times like these where you will marvel at the pure creation of all this, a story created not only with words but with physical objects.

Netflix’s “The House” is a disturbing stop-motion film with something to say

 | News Today
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

The second story, directed by Swedish animator and filmmaker Niki Lindroth von Bahr, takes things from a spooky ‘gothic children’s fairy tale’ to outright horror flick. Set in modern times in a world of anthropomorphic rats, an unnamed entrepreneur (voiced by Jarvis Cocker) is cutting corners by firing his construction crew for a renovation, hoping to do a quick job himself in order to sell a shoddy house to a wealthy miller. It’s overhead – the place has a nasty infestation of crawling, crawling insects that won’t go away with a simple spray. But despite its disastrous performance, a disturbing old rat couple is “very interested” in the house. It quickly becomes apparent that the couple scammed the scammer right away. To say this doesn’t end well for the Entrepreneur is an understatement – the haunting final shot is such a viscerally disturbing, relentlessly dark image, that I’ll think about it for weeks on end. And yet, it is also an artistic triumph obtained by destroying a setting so meticulously constructed.

The third and final story of The House, directed by Paloma Baeza, fortunately ends on a more uplifting note. A landlady named Rosa (voiced by Susan Wokoma) is determined to pursue her lifelong dream of repairing a beautiful, ruined Victorian house, despite the fact that a devastating flood has driven almost all of its residents. The two who remain, Elias (voiced by Will Sharpe) and Jen (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter), know they too have to leave soon, as the water will fill the house in a few days. But Rosa refuses to see him. She blithely continues to re-paper the walls and repair the floorboards, stubbornly sticking to her life plan, despite the fact that a disaster has clearly uprooted her. While missing the grim, gruesome imagery of the first two stories, it was this one that touched me the most, as I and so many of my friends have put our lives on hold indefinitely for the pandemic, yet again. I can only hope that, like Rosa and her beautiful home, we can find a way to navigate the Flood.

look The House on netflix



Netflix’s “The House” is a disturbing stop-motion film with something to say

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