“…a film that definitely lacks polish…”
Making a movie is challenging, but I would argue that it is even more challenging to get people to watch the movie that you have made. Let’s use books as an example: if I put two open books in front of you, one that was written by an acclaimed author and the other that was written and self-published by an aspiring author, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. What you would see is words on a page and you would have to actually read those words to form an opinion on the writing. Unfortunately for filmmakers this process is different. See I could show you two movies; one movie by an acclaimed director and the other movie that was self-produced by an aspiring filmmaker and most people would only watch the movie that “looks better”. See independent films lack polish so to speak, you can instantly pick out a movie that looks homemade and that deters people from watching it. Unlike with my book example, people are able to instantly pass judgement on a film and then choose to not watch it. This is problematic because a lot of great ideas slip through the cracks simply because they don’t look like a hollywood film. A great example of this is The House of Him. The House of Him is an independently produced horror film about a guy who murders women by luring them into his home. Unfortunately for him, and one of his victims, tonight is different due to a state of emergency that has everyone evacuating their homes. Due to certain circumstances (him killing women and all), evacuating his house is not an option and therefore he and his victim must face what lies in the dark corners of every room.
The House of Him is a film that definitely lacks polish, not only in appearance but it execution. The film starts off in the middle of a massacre leaving you to wonder where the characters are, who the characters are, and how they got there. The only clue is a voicemail that plays during the opening credits that insinuates the girls were going out that night. Unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t enough and I was left scratching my head at the specifics of the situation presented. The movie continues being your run-of-the-mill slasher flick, and I start to regret being talked into watching it. It is then that the brilliance breaks through. Things start to happen that don’t make sense and the film evolves from a slasher flick to a psychological horror film. Of course the film is ultimately rough around the edges: most of the locations are low light so you get a kind of grain effect over the screen, the killer’s mask muffles his voice just enough to be annoying, there is a very weird and very long peek-a-boo sequence halfway through the film. But if you look past those superficial rough patches you have a brilliant story. And it’s not only the story that shows promise, there were many parts of the film that were executed brilliantly: the score reminded me of the old classics (like Halloween), the effects were effective (no pun intended), and the lighting was brilliantly used to cast shadows high up on the walls to increase the feeling of abnormality. The acting in The House of Him was also very good. The film is essentially carried by the two main characters and their dynamic is very complex, but the actors pull it off flawlessly. The ending of the film is absolutely phenomenal as well. Everything happens in very quick succession, and it is kind of complex (leaving me wondering what the fuck was happening) but it kept me thinking long after the credits stopped rolling. Also it was fucking terrifying. My heart was beating like crazy during the last 20 minutes, so it goes without saying that it was effective at being a horror film.
Overall The House of Him is a film with a great concept but the execution is a little rough around the edges. I would definitely recommend it if you like psychological horror films (or horror films in general), or you just want the shit scared out of you.
I give The House of Him a B