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His House review: Should you stream Netflix’s horror film about the refugee experience?

Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur, Wunmi Mosaku as Rial Majur.
Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur, Wunmi Mosaku as Rial Majur. Pic credit: Aidan Monaghan/Netflix

With Halloween wrapping-up, Netflix is unleashing a horror-thriller just upon the eve of the famous holiday. The film, titled His House, is an unusual entry for the genre, telling a haunting story involving immigrants.

Much like Get Out, this movie hopes to be another swing at bringing social issues into horror. And the unique take of looking at scary stories from an immigrant standpoint is rarely seen in cinema.

But does His House rise to the greatness of other social commentary horror films? Here is our His House review and whether it’s worth a stream on Netflix.

His House review

The film centers on Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) — Two African refugees who journeyed through hell to have a life in London.

When the film begins, both Bol and Rial have finally been accepted into London as new immigrants, but under certain requirements. The biggest one involves both of them being required to live where the system chooses.

And as they get acquainted with their new home by their caseworker (Matt Smith), they have a sense that the worst is finally behind them. They might have breathed a sigh of relief too soon.

Unfortunately, some odd things start happening inside the house.

Both Bol and Rial begin hearing voices and seeing things — and none of it feels welcoming. This place is supposed to be a new start for them, but at what cost? Have they merely traded the horror of one life for the terror of another?

And once the hauntings do begin, it’s easy to feel their stress. As refugees being watched over by the government, they can’t just pack up and leave. They are forced to live with whatever is inside the home, and the tension builds from there.

Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur from His House.
Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur from His House. Pic credit: Aidan Monaghan/Netflix

Similar to Blumhouse, this movie is executed on minimal use of budget to inflict scares. And most of the film takes place inside the home of Bol and Rial. For this reason, the majority of the film relies on the performances of its two leads, and both are terrific.

One of the best performances is from Wunmi Mosaku, who many might remember as Ruby Baptiste from Lovecraft Country. She is just as tremendous in His House as she was in that series.

The movie itself made this writer discover an unrealized fear. That fear, ladies and gentlemen, is dark holes.

This film has random things constantly popping out of holes in walls, the ground, the shadows, and everywhere. So if viewers have a phobia of dark holes, this is not the movie to experience.

Thanks to filmmakers like Jordan Peele, the horror genre has been given a new life with films that tackle social topics such as racism, political division, economic disparity, etc.

His House is very similar to Peele’s approach and is one of a select few horror films trying to be brave enough to discuss immigrants’ issues.

Writer and director Remi Weekes manages to use these brave people’s horrors and apply the scares allegorically. Much of this can be taken at face value, or it can easily be seen as the PTSD that inflicts refugees as they do everything they can just to live.

Wunmi Mosaku as Rial Majur.
Wunmi Mosaku as Rial Majur. Pic credit: Aidan Monaghan/Netflix

Sometimes immigrants have to do things they hate and become people they do not want to be to survive another day. The cost of survival is great, and the cost of freedom even greater.

And this is where the film shines the brightest. Beneath the scares is a tragic story for Bol and Rial, and the story rooted in Africa feels quite authentic.

All this said, His House is not without its issues. Specifically, the finale might leave some viewers mixed with how it wraps certain character arcs.

It’s hard to dive into the reasons without spoiling too much, but the best way to articulate the outcome is that it felt like the safest choice.

For all its bravery and vulnerability within its horror, the story itself had a chance to take some risks but didn’t quite make the needed leap to satisfy.

Still, the film overall is a must-see horror film for the subject matter of immigrants/refugees and creative choices alone.

Overall Thoughts

His House is another worthwhile entry for social-commentary horror. It may not reach the greatness of films like Get Out or Us, but it’s not required given the subject matter.

Writer-director Remi Weekes applies authentic discussion about the hardships refugees face to have an anxiety-free existence.

But as the film conveys, sometimes that fight for a new life comes at a cost and carries something over. Sometimes it’s a witch, or sometimes the witch is just a painful memory.

The ending might leave viewers wanting, but His House is inspired horror with a meaningful spirit.

If readers like this review, check out our latest reviews for Possessor and The Haunting of Bly Manor.

His House is now streaming on Netflix.

John Dotson


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