Netflix’s The House is a collection of three different stories, each with a central theme — a house. All are dark, creepy, and yet extremely captivating.
The House is an anthology that tells three completely different stories via stop motion animation — each one centering around a common theme, a house. While each of these stories feels very unique, as well as creepy, the first chapter is by far the best of them all, which can leave viewers feeling a tad disappointed at the end. That isn’t to say they aren’t all good or interesting, they just should have been presented in a different order, so as to not let down audiences.
In the first chapter a family is given the opportunity to move into their dream house, built just for them, but all is not as it seems. The young children Mabel and Isobel seem to be the only ones who recognize how bizarre things are, while their parents Raymond and Penny are blinded to what is truly going on.
The longer the story goes on, the more horrifying it gets. Viewers will immediately be sucked in by the gorgeous visuals, but as this first chapter of The House continues, they will stay for the twisted plot that is keeping them on the edge of their seats.
This story is my favorite of the three mainly because of just how subtle it starts out. The others, though still intriguing, move along at a much quicker pace. Chapter 1 has the time to breath and truly plays out in a surprising way. The story takes its time unfolding, which is appreciated in the end. And that final shot is stunning, yet horrific.
Chapter 2 of The House anthology is the shortest of them all, and flies by just a little bit too quickly. It lays the groundwork early on for some fun twists and turns, but overall it is much more predictable than the other two chapters. This chapter is the most visual of the three, featuring some truly beautiful shots, but also some that will make your skin crawl, especially towards the end.
The final few moments of this story are some of its best, with a surprise that most viewers will see coming, but somehow it still delivers. There are few things that don’t work with this chapter, like some small plot details that just aren’t necessary, but they are made up for in the end.
Chapter 3 is my second favorite of The House anthology, which is largely in part due to the fact that many of the scenes could be screenshot and turned into artwork — simply look at the photo above and you will know exactly what I am talking about. The cats in this stop motion story are adorable. They embrace the animalistic style of cats, while also embodying many human aspects.
The story itself feels a bit underwhelming, especially compared to the previous two chapters. It isn’t as bizarre or chilling as the previous two, and feels the most of place when considering the stories an anthology. Unfortunately this is the weakest of the stories plot-wise, so a rough way to go out. At the end, it just had me eager to watch Chapter 1 again.
That said, all three of the chapters have an ominous feeling surrounding them. The stories are creepy and the animation is beautiful. This anthology shows just how different stories can be, even if they all share the same inspiration. In this case, a house.
Each chapter focuses on a time period — the past, the present, and finally, the future. Since the first chapter is the one set in the 1800s, and the start of this house, it is understandable that this story would be first. Because of this it can be forgiven that the best story is at the story of the anthology, however it would have been better to go out with a bang.
Every story brings something new to the table, and as they go on, they help round out the story of the house. Individually, these stories are good, but together they make something special and unique.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
About The House
The House is an eccentric dark comedy about a house and the three surreal tales of the individuals who made it their home. An anthology directed by the leading voices in independent stop motion animation: Emma de Swaef and Marc Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Paloma Baeza and produced by Nexus Studios.
Story 1, directed by Marc James Roels & Emma de Swaef: Set in the 1800s, impoverished Raymond meets a mysterious benefactor who promises to restore both him and his family to their former status. The family soon learns that wants and desires may not always lead you where you expect.
Story 2, directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr: Set in the present day, a harassed property developer tries to make a quick sale from a renovation. However, some eerie unexpected guests have other plans and become the catalyst to a more personal transformation.
Story 3, directed by Paloma Baeza: Set in the near future, the house survives a hugely changed landscape. We meet Rosa, a young landlady determined to stay in her beloved crumbling house and restore it to its former glory. But Rosa’s unrealistic vision has blinded her to the inevitable change that is coming and to what matters most.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Hollywood Critics Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.