I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House 💀 Movie Review

Written by Thelonia

The Pretty Thing that Lives in the House is Ruth Wilson (armed with a saccharine American accent), who plays Lily Saylor, a nurse hired to take care of an aged writer living in a large empty house all by herself. Lily will soon discover the house’s dark secrets lurking just inside the walls.

There is not much plot to the movie. Lily arrives to the house a somewhat neurotic wallflower, and is immediately antagonized by a mysterious presence that manifests as a dark spot on a wall. A year passes, and the rot in the wall has spread, leading to Lily’s increased panic (not helped by the fact that Lily is so scared of everything, she cannot bring herself to read any of her employer’s books).

When the ghost itself appears, it’s more of a bygone conclusion. This is in part a result of the early reveal of said ghost (the opening shot is of said ghost, smudged white on black), as well as a very early reveal that Lily will be dead within the year: “Three days ago, I turned 28 years old,” she says “I will never be 29.”

In accordance to the creepy voice, she also lurks around a lot.
Even though she’s been with her for a year, the author, Iris, still calls Lily by a different name – Polly. Asking the lawyer about it, he tells Lily that there was no one who had that name in Iris’ life. Except for the “Lady in the Walls”. This is, it turns out, one of Iris’ novels, whose main character Polly, tells Iris about her untimely death (perhaps in this very house?). There is not so much a mystery here as there is plain history which slowly gets revealed to Lily (through her own reticence to be frightened). The atmosphere works not because you don’t know what is coming, but because you don’t know when it will come (which it will). Any dark corner on the frame is an invitation to dread, and the night scenes build on their commitment to the shadows.

So many dark doorways, you guys.
There are so many lingering shots of the house’s dark doorways that it made me want to immediately bolt out of the room. The dark is a void that promises something lurking just beyond the light’s reach. And it delivers.

The language sometimes gets a bit verbose for me; the opening in particular was a bit of a jolt – I expected a horror movie and instead I got aesthetics™ and poetics about home. Which worked for me, but I’d consider your own tolerance for both soft but tense horror as well as sort of pretentious arty movies. If you like one, and particularly if you like both, then check out the movie. The ending narration is less jarring, if only because you’re used to the writing style by then, and are not surprised by ghost monologuing.

Lily lives a nervous wreck, and so does she die. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in hindsight – why would the nice Polly ghost purposefully kill Lily? (Unless the death was purely accidental and Polly simply wanted her body to be found) But the final note of the film, which ends with the various ghosts of the House, all in their own realities (Polly stuck in her empty house, Iris at her writer’s desk, and Lily in the dark clutter). They move around the new living family, ending on the final note: “A house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living. It can only be borrowed by the ghosts who have stayed behind."

This TV provides the one jump scare that has really gotten me in recent memory.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is peak aesthetic in terms of horror, and it doesn’t have all that much else to it. But if you enjoy poetics and feeling a deep-seated dread about the dark shadows of your own home, then definitely check it out.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is available on Netflix.

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