Netflix Releases ‘I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House’ Just in Time for Halloween
In the pantheon of horror movies with titles so absurdly long and unwieldy they eventually become awesome again, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things have new company. There was no way Netflix was letting Halloween go by without releasing some seasonally-appropriate content, and right on cue, they’ve unveiled the trailer for one of their latest acquisitions, the delicate ghost story I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House.
"I have heard myself say that a house that holds the memory of a death is the staying place of a rotted ghost." These words, whispered via voiceover narration by Ruth Wilson’s Lily, pretty much cover the whole of the movie. Her oddly stilted speech reflects the staid, high-Gothic overtones of the movie’s more subdued approach to horror. And the creepy mention of restless spirits hints at the horrors that await her.
Lily arrives at the estate of infirm author Iris Bloom in the town of Braintree, MA (Regrettably, a monster called the Brain Tree is not the antagonist of the film) to begin work as the woman’s live-in nurse. Though she’s never had much of a taste for the macabre herself, young Lily begins to read Iris’ old works and comes to suspect that one of the murders in the novel may not be so fictitious after all. Oz Perkins, director of The Blackcoat's Daughter, delivers another slow-moving wisp of ambient horror with this chilling chamber piece.
I was fortunate enough to catch this film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, and though I found the film to drag a touch even at a sub-90-minute run time, there’s no denying that Perkins could very well possess magical powers, conjuring terror out of thin air with little more than a jerked-back phone cord. It’s just the thing to put a healthy dose of fear in streaming audiences right before the spookiest day of the year.