Desiree Lim’s psychological thriller “The House” is a modern character study that follows an ex-Wall Street investment banker, in a life-changing transitional period, who decides to seclude herself in a friend’s family mansion over the holidays. The film stars Natalie Skye, Zak Santiago, Alex Zahara, Emilie Ullerup, Zahf Paroo, David Richmond-Peck, Olivia Chung, Kyle Cassie, and Patricia Mayen-Salazar.
The story told in “The House” is more melodrama than suspense. The film is very cerebral, dialog heavy and filled with philosophically controlled whimsy. By that I mean the subject matter and story arch form a surreal, and somber stream of experiences acting out as flashes of moments instead of complete, relatable quandaries. I found myself pushing back a lot of question mark reactions to while watching the character interactions against the plot’s principle set-up. Plausibility and natural flow of the story’s intent seems shaky .
Now the acting and actual writing for “The House” is really smart, intellectual material that bares a strong resemblance to Shakespearean comedies. The film is filled with emotion and strong character development that draws you into the story, but I keep waiting for the elements that qualified this film as thriller. The needed components to create thrills or suspense are non-existent in this film. “The House” is more of a social commentary, art film. Heavy dialog and strong emotional interactions between the player create a quality film-for fans of drama films, philosophical cinema and explorations of human melancholia.
The special effects and soundtrack are simple, tasteful elements that are more secondary than instrumental in selling a scene. Most of the effects used are basic tricks that could be considered conservative. At no point in the film does special effects really stand out as major aspects of “The House”. This film is more atmospherically driven, so the instrumental soundtrack and few songs used in the film work well to create the mournful, longing effect that pulls you in emotionally to the story. The biggest effect that stands out in this film is the house itself. It is a wonderful, piece of architecture that expresses an artistic, high concept design. It is both beautiful and cold simultaneously which acts as a companion to the characters in “The House”.
Overall “The House” is an emotional, character driven drama that has some strong moments. Mostly in the acting and cinematography. This is in no a thriller, though it has some scenes that pick up with action. However the action is a bit too soft for my taste. This is an intelligent story of personal conflict, transition and discovery that makes a heartfelt connection but it there is no horror, the paranormal is more Shakespeare than Stephen Twardokus. “The House” isn’t a film that I really enjoyed but I do respect the strong, philosophical concept.