House

House ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

House is the perfect mix of chaotic & calculated. the coloring & collage effects may seem absurd, but the amount of time & effort the filmmakers put into creating each frame argues that nothing is absurd, even dreams.  

i've always been a sucker for films that accurately portray the world of dreams (david lynch's entire filmography!!!), and House is no exception, as it's partially based off of director Ôbayashi's 10-year-old daughter's nightmares -- she even has a writing credit. in the documentary Constructing a House, Ôbayashi explains that adults "only think about things they understand ... everything stays on that boring human level" while "children can come up with things that can't be explained." view this film through the lens of an imaginative 10-year-old girl and suddenly it starts to make more sense. 

as a child, nightmares are so scary because you believe that they could really happen, no matter how fantastical they are. House is the ultimate preteen nightmare come to life: your father chooses a new wife over your happiness. you try to distract yourself by taking a vacation with your friends to your aunt's house. you discover that your aunt is dead & the house is haunted by malevolent spirits. 

the severed hands & legs & heads of your friends. a flesh-eating piano. a cat painting that spews enough blood to fill a room. murderous mattresses. a grandfather clock stuffed with a bloody corpse. your friends are terrorized and murdered by these "absurdities" while you are alone, possessed by a haunted mirror.

however, in the end, it contorts into the ultimate preteen fantasy: when your new stepmom, the source of all your misery, arrives to pick you up, you disintegrate her. 

creating a film about (and in a way, for) young girls that no young girls will ever be allowed to watch is BOLD. i wish i could've watched this at 10, but i know i would've been rightfully traumatized. oh well, at least 21-year-old me enjoyed it just the same.

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