The House Parent Guide
Quirky and often creepy, this unique animated film is unsuited to children but might interest adult animation fans who like things dark.
Parent Movie Review
A house isn’t a home without someone to live in it – but some of those residents can be weirder than others…
The house at the center of this movie has had three very different sets of occupants. The first are a humble Victorian family, for whom the house was built. Although they started out in a quaint cottage, a mysterious benefactor who met Raymond (Matthew Goode), the father, insisted on building them the house on the condition that they live in it once it’s completed. While the spacious rooms and luxurious furnishings are appealing to Raymond and his wife, Penelope (Claudie Blakley), young Mabel (Mia Goth) is concerned about the changes the new home has wrought on her parents.
The next resident, a determined developer (Jarvis Cocker), is refurbishing the house to bring in some major cash. He sources luxury finishes, high end appliances, even a massive custom fish tank in the living room. Apart from the usual setbacks associated with construction, the developer has a major issue: a massive infestation of fur beetles, which has only become apparent a day before his scheduled open house. His desperation to open on time is matched only by the increasingly aggressive calls from the bank.
The final homeowner in this film, named Rosa (Susan Rokoma), has been struggling to make the house work as a series of apartments. Jen (Helena Bonham Carter) is more interested in the metaphysical than the physical and has taken to paying her rent in crystals which will, allegedly, help realign Rosa’s chakras. Elias, on the other hand, only pays her in fish. So when Jen’s odd boyfriend, Cosmos (Paul Kaye) turns up and offers to help, Jen jumps at the opportunity to fix up the place and attract better tenants…but Cosmos idea of help might not be what Rosa was expecting.
Strange stories aside, this is a structurally unusual film as well. Originally billed by Netflix as a series, it is now described as a “special”. It should be more accurately termed an anthology because each of the three stories in the film feature a different director. While the stories share some visual elements, most notably the titular house, the characters and ideas are quite different. So different, in fact, that they don’t even share a species: The first story features human characters, the second is peopled by rats, and the third stars cats.
Out of those three stories, the first is by far the strongest…and the most disturbing. The story is unsettling from start to finish, both visually and tonally. Despite a lack of major content concerns in any of these segments, parents are not going to want to watch this with children. Not only are they likely to be confused by the unusual storylines, the haunting visuals and majorly creepy characters are going to scare the spit out of them.
Your odds of enjoying this odd little production are directly proportionate to your tolerance for strangeness. If you like a clearcut, conventional, linear story, this is going to drive you straight up the wall. Apart from the general surrealness of each tale, the overall theme or point of each is fuzzy and debatable. If you don’t feel like sitting around thinking about some of the metaphorical elements of the story or characters, then this isn’t the movie for you.
Frankly, I’m not sure who this was supposed to be for in the first place. I mean, I enjoyed it – more or less – but it doesn’t have what you might describe as broad appeal. But what it lacks in familiarity or normalcy, it more than makes up for in memorability. Equal parts fever dream and short fiction, this is going to make you think – whether you like it or not.Directed by Paloma Baeza, Emma De Swaef, Niki Lindroth von Bahr. Starring Mia Goth, Jarvis Cocker, Susan Wokoma. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release January 14, 2022. Updated March 18, 2022
Watch the trailer for The House
Rating & Content Info
Why is The House rated TV-MA? The House is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for language
Violence: Some bugs are squished. A character collapses and is taken to hospital.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There is one use of extreme profanity, two uses of scatological terms, and infrequent uses of mild cursing and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking.
Page last updated March 18, 2022
The House Parents' Guide
Do you have a favorite story of the three? Why? What do you think the directors are trying to say with their stories? Do you think there are larger themes or do you think the stories are designed for entertainment alone?
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This film is somewhat reminiscent of Coraline, another classic stop-motion film which positively wallows in the unusual and unsettling. Other unusual cinematic offerings include I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Isle of Dogs, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, Kubo and the Two Strings, and The Little Prince.