Welcome to my first Midsummer Recent Movie Festival! For the past couple of years I’ve reviewed a bunch of recent movies on New Year’s Day. But why wait when there are new movies to review now! My only qualifications for the Midsummer Recent Movie Festival are 1) a US release date January 1, 2022 or later, 2) a Letterboxd average rating of 3.5 or higher, and 3) available to me at no extra cost on my streaming platforms.
Title: The House
Release Date: January 14, 2022
I – And heard within, a lie is spun: Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels
II – Then lost is truth that can’t be won: Niki Lindroth von Bahr
III – Listen again and seek the sun: Paloma Baeza
Production Company: Nexus Studios | Netflix Animation
The House is an anthology film with three stories all set in a mysterious large house. It is animated in stop-motion animation with characters made of fabric not unlike the style of The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
In the first segment, a poor family in rural England are allowed to move into the newly-built house but the mad architect continues to have the house built around them turning it into the maze. 9-year-old Mabel (Mia Goth) investigates what’s going on with the baby Isobel while her parents seem oblivious to the strange things happening. This segment has the strongest elements of horror of the three.
In the second segment, an anthropomorphic rat contractor (Jarvis Cocker, of the band Pulp) is rehabbing the house and hosting a reception to entice potential buyers. He has to deal with an infestation of beetles and then a strange couple at the viewing essentially move in without actually buying the house. Despite the very creepy bugs, this segment is also the most comical.
In the final segment, the house survives in a world where everything around it has been submerged by a catastrophic flood. Rosa (Susan Wokoma), an anthropomorphic cat, is attempting to renovate the house while renting out the rooms. She has only two tenants, Jen (Helena Bonham Carter) and Elias (Will Sharpe), neither of whom pay rent in cash. Things come to a head as the flood waters rise. Despite the apocalyptic setting, this segment feels hopeful.
The animation in this film is beautifully done with great voice acting and music as well. The combination of surrealism, fantasy, horror, and humor works well. I think each segment is better than the previous, but maybe it’s just because I like cats.