My Top 20 Scares of 2020: #17

Sometimes a movie is fine except for one thing that just…really bothers you. Maybe bothers you so much that your primary takeaway is disappointment. Even if the overall experience was actually pretty great.

When I watched my #17 movie of 2020 I came away disappointed. But the process of writing my review earlier this year forced me to focus on all the good things about it: the cast, the story, the aesthetic, the women…did I mention the cast?? Check it out.

#17. HIS HOUSE (2020)

So Cool. (c) HIS HOUSE 2020.

HIS HOUSE (2020) was written and directed by Remi Weekes and starred powerhouses Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu with a cute cameo by Matt Smith. It’s basically a Haunted-House-But-Really-We’re-Personally-Haunted story. Two things bugged me about it on first consideration:

  1. It’s more of a drama than a true horror movie, and
  2. The explicitly stated moral. All horror movies have morals, but when it’s stated aloud it loses impact.

However, as my number #18 film of 2020 clearly attests, a horror film doesn’t actually need to be a terrifying scare-fest to be enjoyable. And HIS HOUSE is extremely enjoyable! I’ve got this whole other review of the film here, so I’m going to avoid repeating myself too much, but. I will never tire of restating that I could watch Wunmi Mosaku tell people what’s what all day. The explicitly-stated moral is a drag from a writing POV (and for some reason writing is very important to me), but otherwise it’s creepy, well-acted, beautifully designed and directed, and explores grief and the refugee experience with insight and care (and creepy monsters). Ultimately, HIS HOUSE is a solid flick and well worth the watch.

How Did It Score

  • How scary was it? 3/5
  • How memorable was it? 2/5
  • Was it a Quality film? 3.5/5
    • Points for being about more than just scaring the pants off people. Points lost for that pesky explicitly-stated moral.
  • How about those women? 4.5/5
    • Here is how HIS HOUSE scores on each of the gender tests:
      • Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass
      • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass
      • Willis Test: Pass
      • Ko Test: Pass
      • Roxane Gay Test: Pass!
      • Carie-Burns Test: Fail. Weirdly. There is only 1 major female character in this film. There are several other women but most of them (spoiler) are flashbacks/are already dead. There is a second female character who is presumably living at the end of the film but she’s a single-scene nurse with no name.
  • Total points: 12.5/20

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Dramaturg. I like coffee and Whisky and dogs and talking in person.

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