His House movie review & film summary (2020)

Though supportive of Bol’s attempts to get along, Rial’s feelings about her current situation are more complex. At a doctor’s appointment, she explains the markings on her skin as the symbols of both warring tribes in her homeland. The enemy symbols she carved herself, not just as a means of protection, but also as a physical manifestation of her sense of not belonging anywhere. Still, at the height of the Majurs’ terror, Rial is willing to do what the mean Black Brits she encountered suggested. As a result, Bol’s attitude becomes as ominous as the specters who visit every night.

“His House” wastes little time in bringing about things that go bump (and worse) in the night. It doesn’t play coy with the details because it never questions whether everything is in Bol’s mind—Rial can also see and hear what they refer to the “sea witch” living with them. Weekes subverts our plot expectations for the genre in a scene where Mark visits their home after Bol pays a troubling visit to his office. Seeing the house in massive disrepair due to Bol attacking its walls with a hammer the night before, Mark demands an explanation. Normally, characters in horror movies would try to downplay or deny that which is causing their madness. Instead, Rial nonchalantly tells Mark that there’s a witch in the house.

Dirisu and Mosaku give excellent performances with subtle nuances that make them credible as a married couple. Because they have been through so much, they are able to talk to one another about their uncomfortable circumstances. They experience the haunting differently—Bol’s visions are far more visceral and visual while the witch converses with Rial. Both see and hear their deceased daughter, however. “Do you want to know what she tells me?” Rial asks Bol. “She says that I should be afraid of you.” Later, when Bol tries to shield his deepest fears from his wife, as he had attempted to do in the opening scene, Rial calls him a liar. Mosaku hits the word with a force as scary as the creatures that keep popping up.

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