House is not a horror movie that I recognized from the horror shelf at the video store. I attribute this now to the fact that I probably thought it was a Goosebumps book instead, because let's get serious..it looks like a Goosebumps cover. There's nothing wrong with that of course because Goosebumps are the bees knees but I'm just letting you know. In any case, especially as of late, I've been hearing non-stop references to House and I could no longer resist the temptation to see what the buzz was all about. As it turns out, House is one of those horror comedies, but a horror comedy that still has the power to genuinely freak you out. It evokes the popular discussion of how great it is when the antagonist is not a person at all--but a building. When piles of bricks have a strange power about them we get all excited because it's not a conventional form of fear or even characterization. Films (and books) like The Shining, The Amityville Horror and The Changeling have a similar sense of dread concerning the very house that the film takes place in. It has always been the house that is evil and not necessarily the ghosts or the demons that reside in it--and that to me is extremely thought provoking.
Roger is a horror writer that teaches us a very important lesson. The lesson is-don't become a horror writer because your fans will look like this. And also, Frau Farbissina will stalk you. As time in the movie progresses we find that Roger has inherited his Aunt's massive house after the delivery boy finds her hanging out upstairs. A few flashbacks later and we also find that Roger's son disappeared while staying with his Aunt- and at the time the Aunt blamed the house. Now divorced and with writer's block, Roger moves into the creepy house alone to start work on his memoir about his time in Vietnam. We soon learn that the Aunt may have been right all along and that the house and the fat and scary demons that live inside it- have the power to get inside any one's head and stay there.
As many of you know I sometimes suffer from a short attention span. This happens when nothing particularly interesting or provocative is happening and then I start opening other windows and stalking people on social networking sites. That was about to happen in House and then all of a sudden...
This vomitous mass of tree branches and skin flew out of the closet and all hell broke loose. I would be lying if I said I didn't go "AH" out loud. You know one of those "fake" screams that you do when you are embarrassed that something like that actually scared you? It was then that I knew what all the buzz concerning House was really all about. These demon creatures are great! You don't expect them- and the effectiveness of the jump scare is perfect. It's not one of those lame jump scares you get nowadays where a spilt cup of coffee somehow becomes the scariest thing in the world due to the extraneous volume added, this was done right and I rightfully jumped.
There's also something to be said about how utterly creepy being alone in a giant house is. I don't care who you are, when you are alone and especially if you have some post traumatic stress from serving in Vietnam- a big house like that is not your friend. Every noise that you hear becomes the footsteps of a rapist, a burglar or a giant puss filled tree demon. There's a moment in the film, where Roger HAS to open the closet door to see if there's you know..a monster inside. It in my opinion, was completely well done. When you are convinced that you heard something, it's almost easier to not investigate the matter. That anticipation of whether or not there is actually a rapist in your house makes everything so much scarier.
Now I think the true strengths in House may just lie in all those wonderfully done demons. Each one really, really creeped me out. Especially the really fat one. One of the creepier moments however comes when Roger is babysitting that hot woman's child, and he turns the corner to see the child being beckoned into a room by another demon--this time a child-like one with long blonde hair. I can't pinpoint exactly why that one really freaked me out, but it may have something to do with the demons really long hair. Oh and the fact that there were TWO of them. That part where the little kid is standing by the chimney and he waves to Roger than the demon things suddenly reach down and pull him up! Faaantastic.
While there are some slow parts of House, I did enjoy the fact that the house became this great portal to the realms of evil. I also felt like I was watching a hybrid of Poltergeist, The Changeling and possibly a little Evil Dead. There were however a few moments of confusion. I wouldn't for instance, recommend looking away for a minute or two because then you'll miss the fact that the weird little kid Roger was babysitting, somehow got changed into his actual son. Also, the Vietnam flashbacks took a little while to get rolling- and the final reveal of the main demon of the house was both awesome and a little disappointing. Disappointing because I was hoping for a it to be a massive demon made up of all the evils of the world- but instead it was based solely on one incidence of Roger's past. I realize that is a completely ridiculous problem to have with it, but I can't help it if I like giant demons. I do realize of course that the evilness of the house pertains directly to the person inside of it, so it all of course makes perfect sense. I need to fill up my cup of tea again.
Overall, I really enjoyed House. Although I was lost at some parts, I can definitely understand where all the buzz comes from. It's a great example/hybrid of the haunted house/demon genre and the demons are some of the best creatures I have ever laid eyes on. There are moments of surprise, of laughter and of disgust. What more could we ask for?