Spotlight on The House (Netflix 2022): Funny & Actually Scary
The House is a Netflix horror movie for kids in three parts. The story is simple, yet gripping; the animation is quaint, yet terrifying; the music is melodic, yet full of subtle fear.
The truth is, The House took me by surprise in how unassuming and complex it was.
In this article, I’ll write about all 3 vignettes in The House, and then I’ll explain what the final ending means. It’s going to open your eyes!
After that, I’ll tell you about the animation studio and musicians which made this little dark comedy possible.
Press Play to listen to the article, or continue below:
The House (Netflix) Story
The House a kid’s movie?
One thing about The House is how simple the story is, yet how gripping. Yes, it’s styled after the fashion of a children’s movie. But make no mistake: The House is scary.
Asking if The House is a kid’s movie is like asking if Harry Potter, Coraline, and The Nightmare before Christmas are for kids.
Sure, Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline because his five year old daughter, Holly, liked scary stories. But that doesn’t stop adults all over the world from loving it. It is legitimately scary.
Of course, what’s best about Coraline is that the story is especially frightening to kids. I think that’s what makes it appealing for adults: that we can remember what it’s like to be small, terrified, and helpless. For kids, there’s probably nothing more terrifying than finding out your parents aren’t quite themselves.
Which brings us to The House.
Would You Show Netflix’s The House to Your Kids?
I don’t have kids, but if I did, there’s probably a lot of Netflix content I wouldn’t let them watch,
However, when it comes to Netflix’s The House, I think I’d be okay with it. Yeah, true, it’s scary, but it’s far from inappropriate.
Actually, if there’s any offensive part in the whole movie, it’s just that the mouse from the second vignette says “fuck” once. But even then, it’s a well-deserved, shocking expletive. It isn’t gratuitous at all.
In other words, it’s meant to be shocking when the mouse says “fuck,” and he says it for a very good reason.
I’ll talk more about that a little later!
Are all 3 movies in The House part of the same story?
At first, watching The House, you might think that all 3 vignettes are totally unconnected. Actually, while watching it with my friend, a little ways into the second vignette, I noticed some architecture that looked somehow eerily familiar. That was when I asked my friend – “oh my god do you think it’s the same house” – but he just dismissed me with a wave of his hand and a “nahhh.”
But he shouldn’t have dismissed me. Because it was only a few minutes later that I realized the movie is called “The House,” not “The Houses.” It’s about one house, obviously.
And that makes even more sense when you realize that the first vignette took place in a time in the historical past, at a time when there were no cars, and the dad carried his belongings from one house to the next in a cart on his back.
If you look at the scope of the three vignettes, the first one goes back in history, the second one happens in modern times, and the third takes place in some bleak, post-apocalyptic future.
This movie is about the life of the house, from its birth in the beginning to its ultimate transformation in the end.
Netflix The House Meaning
There are some things you can explain about The House and some things you can’t. Actually, they even put “I don’t know what this house is” in the ending theme song for the credit roll:
Among of it, an early grave
A poor investment, such a big mistake
This house— Oh, this house is—
I don’t know what it isJarvis Cocker & Gustavo Santaolalla, This House
More on that song and The House soundtrack below.
Anyway, at first, I took the lyrics to mean that there were just certain things about The house that we aren’t meant to know. And I don’t know about you, but I found that each vignette was more mysterious than the last. However, in the end, I figured out what it all meant.
What I’ll do next is to walk you through each of the three parts of the movie, and then follow it up by explaining what it all means when you put it together.
Netflix The House Part 1
The House Part 1 is entitled, “And Heard Within, a Lie is Spun.”
Ahh. Here’s a nice, straightforward story. Family is down and out. Husband is a drunk. They’re always getting mocked by their snotty, posh, well-to-do in-laws. Someone offers to build them a house, and they take the offer.
Then, slowly, over time, the house takes them over until they become furniture. It’s a Twilight Zone kind of moral twist: family wants material success; family gets material success; material success gets family.
It’s the one that feels most like Coraline, for its female hero and absent parents.
Netflix The House Part 2
The House Part 2 is entitled, “And Lost is Truth that Can’t Be Won.”
I love this story. It might be my favorite of the 3.
The House Part 2 has a tragic hero who just can’t seem to catch a break. What’s more, there’s complex character development and crazy plot twists.
The main character is a mouse who spent his whole life trying to be successful in real estate, but the house won’t let him have what he wants. That’s because there are bugs all over the interior who won’t let him succeed.
What Does the Part 2 Ending Mean?
Actually, at first, I had a hard time understanding the ending to this one. My buddy had to explain it to me. Basically, the real estate developer mouse got some very special visitors. They came to his real estate showing, which was the culmination of his life’s work. And then they just never left.
However — and here’s the part I didn’t get — these unwelcome house guests were really just giant bugs disguise.
It seemed obvious to my friend that these weird mice were really giant bugs, but they don’t look like bugs to me.
Of course, after he explained that, that horrifying ending scene made sense. I won’t go into detail about the horrifying ending scene, just in case you haven’t seen it yet.
Amazing Word Choices!
The second vignette is my favorite one of all because of how it uses words carefully, with meaning. As a writer, I like words.
The first time was when the mouse swore and said “fuck.” As I mentioned earlier, it’s powerful to use a swear word in a film that’s stylized to make it look like it’s for children. I think the writers had him say “fuck” to show how tragic his situation was.
The second time was when the mouse called his house guests “vermin.” This little bit explains so much. Because a “vermin” can be a cockroach; however, it can also be a mouse.
noxious, objectionable, or disgusting animals collectively, especially those of small size that appear commonly and are difficult to control, as flies, lice, bedbugs, cockroaches, mice, and rats.https://www.dictionary.com/browse/vermin
…words are important here. Fuck and vermin stick out. These two little words can even help you figure out the story. Great script writing.
Netflix The House Part 3
Honestly, The House Part 3, which is entitled, “Listen Again and Seek The Sun,” is probably the most open to interpretation. I do have an interpretation of my own.
What seems to be happening is that Rose, the main cat, who is trying to renovate her house, heals both the house and herself. It’s a weirdly happy ending that I didn’t expect at all.
The water level is rising in the house. It’s going to go under. Rose’s friends are staying there because they feel bad about leaving. They like her for who she is. But she seems to be stuck on money.
Money, in a post-apocalyptic waterworld, makes no sense.
Rose’s friends wanted her to be free from money all along. They keep paying her rent in fish, crystals, and dinners from the garden. The whole time, it seems like her friends are deadbeats for not having money.
But meanwhile, Rose is actually kind of bananas for not seeing that money is useless in this new world.
By the way, one thing I noticed is WE NEVER SEE THE GARDEN.
You know what we do see? A weed that could be either Queen Anne’s Lace or deadly Hemlock.
These two plants are often confused with each other.
What exactly does it mean that the only plant in the vegetable garden that we see is this possibly deadly herb? I think it’s open to interpretation.
The House Ending Meaning
So let’s put all this together.
In the first vignette, the drunk husband accepts the free house because of materialistic concerns. He is tired of being bullied by his snotty extended family. But the materialism is cursed, and he becomes the things in the house.
Right, so the house is haunted by materialism!
Then, in the second vignette, the mouse’s life becomes tragic because the house refuses to let him make money. Yet, he remains obsessed to the bitter end. Again, he is haunted by materialism.
Finally, in the end, the house haunts Rose the Cat with its echoes of greed and money, even way after those things are even relevant.
In the end, the house transforms into a boat, to sail around the new post-apocalyptic waterworld. Only then can the house truly be healed, because there is no longer materialism in the world with which to haunt anyone!
Netflix The House Musical Score by
Gustavo Santaolalla wrote the music for The House. His soundtrack is melodic, but at the same time, it’s also full of subtle fear.
What are the Lyrics to the Ending Theme Song from Netflix’s The House?
Here are the lyrics to The House’s ending theme song, by Jarvis Cocker and Gustavo Santaolalla. Below, you can listen to the song:
I ripped out the kitchen, I repainted the hall
But nothing made any difference at all
This house— This house is—
I don’t know what it is
I assembled some furniture, I resembled some furniture
But following instructions only leads to self-destruction
Among of it, an early grave
A poor investment, such a big mistake
But if you’re in the market for a three-story monstrosity
This could be your cup of tea, your ideal property
Sunshine pours through a windowpane
Highlighting the fact that I’m on my own again
A home is a place love and life can mixJarvis Cocker & Gustavo Santaolalla
A house is nothing, nothing
But a collection of bricks
Nexus Studios: The Animators Behind The House (2022)
The animation in The House is quaint, yet terrifying.
So who animated The House? That would be Nexus Studios.
Nexus Studios is the animation studio responsible for animating The House. They did an amazing job with the puppetry and creepy stop motion vibe.
Here’s a little something else they made, called “Back to the Moon”:
Nexus Studios: The Short Film Vibe
We all know it: short films and are more artistic. Vignettes have that raw “film school” vibe that young aspiring artists have always made so well, even when veterans are the ones who create them.
It’s the same with reading short stories. With short stories, there’s a stronger sense of purpose than you get with a novel.
With a short story, you only have so many words until the ending — 10k max. So every scene, every character, every word has to count.
I’m no movie director, but the situation must be similar. You don’t have a whole feature length movie to develop characters and plot and all conflict. So you end up economizing. You need to concentrate the juice.
All this is to say, you get that feeling from the writers of The House. It feels real. It feels like art.
The animation studio behind “The House,” Nexus is known for making short films, including”Back to the Moon” (above) and “To Build a Fire” (which you can watch below).
Nexus Studios uses lots of different animation styles, but in The House (2022), Nexus uses a stop motion animation style. What’s really nice about this is that it gives The House an old timey,1980s horror vibe.
Here’s Nexus Studios’ “To Build a Fire”:
Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland.Jack London, To Build a Fire
“To Build a Fire” is a short story by Jack London. Nexus did a good job of capturing the environment Jack London was trying to describe.
And by the way, not to take you too far down a rabbit hole, but if you’re looking for an audiobook (link goes to my audiobook reviews) version of the actual book, then look no further:
Other Movies like Netflix’s The House (2022)
Coraline – similar vibe – creepy, for kids. Of all 3 of the movies/shows I’m listing here, Coraline is probably the closest match.
Black mirror – the mouse one especially is like a black mirror episode, a sort of dystopia where the ruler becomes the ruled. Honestly, you could almost look at the mouse story like Animal Farm by George Orwell. If you think about it that way – anthropomorphized animals caught in a power struggle – well, now we’re in dystopia territory. And no one does dystopia better than Black Mirror.
Whereas the stories in The House are connected, however, the stories in Black Mirror are all over when they’re over.
Twilight zone – Think of The Twilight Zone as Black Mirror’s older cousin or cool uncle. Filmed in the 1960s, the episodes are all in black and white, and the acting/writing is clearly from a different time.
Anyway, when you’re trying to come up with a list of media like The House, TTZ has a lot in common: they’re both comprised of short, creepy stories full of unfortunate characters who can’t seem to catch a break; melodramatic, creepy horror; and mind-bending plot twists that are profoundly disturbing.
In The House, the vignette that most reminds me of The Twilight Zone is Part II.