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I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

Ruth WilsonPaula PrentissBob BalabanLucy Boynton
Oz Perkins


I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) is a English movie. Oz Perkins has directed this movie. Ruth Wilson,Paula Prentiss,Bob Balaban,Lucy Boynton are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2016. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) is considered one of the best Drama,Horror,Mystery,Thriller movie in India and around the world.

Stained by the brutal death of a young woman, the tranquil and vacant New England mansion of the prolific horror authoress, Iris Blum, has become her silent prison. To take care of the ageing writer who suffers from chronic dementia, the property's manager hires the gentle and soft-spoken live-in hospice nurse, Lily Saylor; however, this is far from an ordinary job. Little by little, Lily's imagination will run wild, as shadowy sightings of eerie female spectres blur the frail boundaries between reality and fantasy, fable and truth. Iris has talked about man's coexistence with the spectral realm in her novels that chill the bone to the marrow. Could her secluded white house at the end of the road be an aerial limbo caught in the middle of life and death?


I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) Reviews

  • Chair stole the show


    The movie was terrible, but every time they cut to the kitchen scenes the chair upside down on the wall hung there like a champ. Now in most scary movies that chair would fall and likely add to the story line, but this chair knew what it was doing. It knew it had a job to do and that was to keep everyone anxiously waiting for it to fall and it never did. It is safe to say this upside down chair deserves an oscar for best on screen performance. ****SPOILER****** The chair never falls.

  • The very essence of Gothic literature in cinematic form


    I would describe 'I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House' as a Gothic short story (or maybe even a Gothic poem) brought to the screen. But forget about all the tropes and visuals that are associated with this genre, it is instead focused on what for me is the essential element of Gothic literature: The dead are alive. This doesn't seem like much to build a narrative on, and the driving force of "Pretty" indeed is not plot, nor characters, nor the solving of a mystery. And while all three things are embedded into its narrative it is first and foremost a tone poem. An important thing about the the-dead-are-alive notion, especially in this film, is that it goes both ways. The living can sense the presence of the dead (AKA ghosts), but the dead actually live on after their death, probably mostly concerned with reliving their past, but they might also be able to sense the living. So who is haunting who? Consequently "Pretty" presents a ghost story within a ghost story, to put it in simplified terms. In more concrete terms the plot concerns Lily, a nurse who stays in the house of elderly horror fiction writer Iris Blum, to take care of her until her death, which shouldn't be too far into the future now. But it also wouldn't be too wrong to say that the main character is the house that had a few occupants over the course of its lifetime. I don't mean this in the tired old this-and-that-place-is-like-another-character-in-the-film way, the personality of the house certainly is made up of all the people who lived in it. But writer-director Oz Perkins takes the expression "If these walls could talk" and makes it a reality. It is about the people who lived in the house (or more correctly the people who died in it), but for all intents and purposes the main character is the house itself. "Pretty" starts with nurse Lily's first day at the house and her opening narration tells us that she just turned 28 years old, but that she will never be 29. She talks about death, memory and says "From where I am now, I can be sure of only a very few things." One of those things is her name. So right from the beginning we know that Lily (at least Lily as a narrator) is already dead. Logic dictates that what we see on screen are her hazy memories of her short time in the house. Can we trust her words and can we trust what we see? In any case, old Iris Blum doesn't talk much. But she keeps calling Lily by the name of Polly. And Lily seems to sense some ghostly presence in the house. Polly, as we soon learn, is the main character of Blum's most famous novel "The Lady in the Walls", a novel of which Blum said it lacks an ending because of "an obligation to be true to the subject" for Polly didn't tell Blum about her ending, but Blum tells us that she is convinced that "as endings go, Polly's was not an especially pretty one." Incidentally there also slowly emerges an ugly, moldy stain on one of the walls in the house that Lily grows concerned about. Is there some connection? Perkins leaves the viewer in the dark for most of the film's running time about the concrete connections between all the characters, as slow and eventless as the whole thing is it is difficult to keep track of all the points of view. For example Lily isn't the only one whose voice-over we hear, we also hear and see young Blum as she writes the novel, and we hear and see Polly. Those voices also aren't particularly easy to distinguish, and it gets even more complicated when scaredy cat Lily finally dares to pick up "The Lady in the Walls" to read at least parts of it, the content of which is told from both Blum's and Polly's point of view. Through the viewer's natural desire to know the answers the film evokes ideas on the way as we contemplate all the possible answers. Did Polly really exist? Is she buried behind the wall? Are Lily and Polly somehow the same person? Is Lily a fictional character altogether? Or is Lily only imagining things? Like a poem or a song it evokes first and foremost a tone, a mood, and sparks ideas of what it might be about. It takes further readings/listens to find that in between all the lines it actually tells a story, a simple story perhaps, but nevertheless a story. And this is actually how 'I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House' worked for me. The tone and the ideas immediately took hold of me, but it took me two viewings to really make sense of the narrative. This isn't without its drawbacks, because frankly it isn't so much difficult to follow because it floods you with information that you need to sort out, on the contrary, it basically is so eventless that it poses a challenge to stay attentive for the whole time. This was, however, clearly a conscious choice by Perkins, and his approach is nothing if not consequential. But it makes criticisms of the film being "boring" particularly understandable in this case, "Pretty" indeed is very one-note, and unless it is a note you relish or that you learn to relish, it won't be enough for you to satisfyingly get you through a whole feature film. As it turned out after two viewings, the solution to the mystery is quite concrete and surprisingly not at all convoluted. Nevertheless the ending for me is as chilling as it is simple, and it beautifully circles back onto itself, like a chorus that keeps coming back, just what you would expect a story told by a ghost to be.

  • Dull and slow taken to new heights


    Don't let the reviews stating how boring it is mislead you; they understate it severely. Ideal perhaps only for insomniacs, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is an arduous test of your attention span. A film completely devoid of plot, its opening dialogue of 2 minutes is essentially the entire story but inexplicably stretched out over the next 90 minutes of sleep- inducing inaction. Please note this review does contain clearly marked spoilers in the third paragraph! Unfortunately the director has conflated suspense building with slowness. The film is excruciatingly slow throughout. You'll no doubt notice that the main character walks at a jaunty 8 feet per hour and even takes upwards of 3 painful minutes to remove the lid of a box. These film tactics do not add to the suspense; quite the opposite, they tend to remove you from the film as you impatiently wait for her to complete whatever mundane task she's performing. And the reward for your patience? None whatsoever. No surprises, scares, or compelling plot twists. Of course, with this film, the only plot twist possible would be the sudden addition of an actual plot. There is virtually no story here. **(Note: there are spoilers for the remainder of this paragraph!)** The only part resembling an interesting plot is the ghost Polly but sadly, her story is never explained nor even hinted at. Why was she murdered? Why did she seem to take some kind of pleasure in scaring Lily to death? The answers are most likely contained in the book written by the elderly author but as our lead conveniently scares too easily, she never reads it, something of a cop out. Even if she had, it's repeated that the ending of the book is intentionally left out, presumably leaving the readers to divine for themselves what happened to her, much like we are with this film. An irritating parallel that smacks of lazy writing. **(Note: no more spoilers!)** But the film not entirely bad. Largely, but not entirely. The setting is well done and takes you back to the 1960s. The house is appropriately creepy as well. But these minor pluses can not distract from the film's glaring missteps. Thanks to the lack of story perfectly complemented by the non-existent pacing, I often found myself more intrigued by the setting than the plot. Too many times throughout the film I caught myself wondering who picks up the groceries and how, or contemplating the obsession people in the 60s had for everything that gaudy yellow color. These pointless thoughts are irrelevant to the film, but when you have no plot to focus on, you'll tend to fixate on whatever you can just to keep yourself awake and mildly interested in something, anything. I've seen other reviews discuss the film's poetic qualities or latent beauty of sorts. I can't dispute or support their opinions but I do strongly suspect that those who take away some kind of artistic value from this film will be in a very small minority and even those that do can't argue that it's a tenuous leg to stand on alone. If you do appreciate such types of films, there's a minor chance you'll enjoy this one, but it's up to you as to whether or not to gamble 90 minutes of your time on this. I do not recommend this film for the majority of audiences. It's very clear that the film's goal was not to tell an interesting or even a complete story, so perhaps its goal was indeed more artistic in nature. But no matter how beautiful you may find the film artistically, without some kind of story it's akin to looking at a painting for 90 minutes straight, and in either case you'll struggle to maintain both interest and consciousness.

  • God doesn't give with both hands.


    Wow, is this movie ever pretty. Aptly named. I was captured by the very first scene of the girl in the dress. Like a painting from the futurism style, it blends movement and motion into a final still, out of focus, and it looks stunning on the mostly black big screen. All of this is overlayed with narration that is simply perfectly spoken (which is consistent for the film, a beautiful read), but more importantly beautifully written. The narration, which comprises most of the spoken lines of the film, is more a poem than a movie script, and I appreciated it for it. The image was a painting, the words were literature, as a whole the film was successful as an art piece. It revolves around a live-in nurse moving into a house to care for an old author who used to write horror books. The nurse starts experiencing subtle signs of a haunting, and finds a strange connection between what is happening to her and one of the author's most famous books. As an idea, it was the kind of quiet horror I love, channeling fear through the uncanny, like old written weird fiction (my mind took me back to reading the Yellow Wallpaper by Gilman). Fear is not even the right word, as nothing about the film is scary, really. More like a feeling of wrongness with the world, an existential dread of sorts. Not to detract from the beauty of the art on display, which was anything but shallow, but the plot itself unfortunately was. Pretty, but surface. Only unfinished hints of a story, that relies a bit too heavily on the viewer to fill in the gaps. I am always a fan of ambiguity, and it is almost necessary for me in a horror film (definites tend to disappoint), but there is still a balance to be struck with some concrete details. Osgood Perkins' last film, February, struck the perfect balance between ambiguity and detail, and for that was my favourite horror of 2015. Here, unfortunately, the scale has moved too much in one direction, to the point of feeling unfinished and not entirely satisfying. I also did not love the ending, which is much too close to that of another stunningly subtle recent horror, by one of the most famous current horror directors. Actually, I loved the ending (as a part of the story on display), it fit very well, I just didn't love that I had already seen it so recently. A sad problem of timing. All in all, I can't possibly not recommend The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, because it is a soul-satisfying kind of pretty, from sound to visuals to acting. But if what you're after is horror (or even a particularly engaging drama), it won't quench that kind of thirst. Only one for beauty.

  • "I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House"- Both the most engaging and enthralling horror film I've seen in some time... and also one of the most tedious.


    On its surface, it would be very easy to outright dismiss writer/director Osgood Perkins' atmospheric Gothic-horror picture "I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House." And for good reason. The film is an exercise in deliberation. But it is an exercise that goes too far too often, and suffers for it. Without doubt, most viewers who choose to indulge in viewing it will find their minds wandering and themselves nodding off within the first act because the film's pacing and structure lend to an overpowering sense of tedium and dullness. This is without doubt the very definition of a "slow burn." It both literally and figuratively crawls from scene to scene, with dialog delivered in drawn out whispers and characters moving as if filmed in slow motion at all times. Even as someone with a great bit of patience for films such as this, I found myself checking my phone more times than I'd like to admit. And yet... I never felt the urge to stop watching. Because despite this glaring issue, the craftsmanship and storytelling is completely enthralling and endlessly engaging, with a grand old-fashioned vibe that I couldn't help but be pulled into from the very first scene. In many ways, it reminded me of the campfire ghost stories of old, classic Hollywood creep-fests of the 50's and 60's and the ancient photographs of ghosts and spirits you stumble across when you research the supernatural. So much of the film is so lovingly assembled to tell a classic tale of the unknown that I couldn't help but watch it start-to-finish... even when it very nearly put me to sleep more than once. The film follows the tale of a lonely and easily frightened young woman called Lily (Ruth Wilson), who is hired to serve as a live-in caregiver to retired author Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss) in her final years. But as the film informs us through a wonderfully poetic opening narration, Lily's future is a dark one- she tells us that within the year, she will be dead, and we will be witness to the events that lead up to her passing. And the film follows just what happened, as Lily is haunted by strange sounds and visions and begins to suspect that there is something very wrong in the home of Iris Blum. Something that may be connected to her most popular novella- a tale of horror called "The Lady in the Walls." The strengths of the film lay in Perkins capable hands as a storyteller. The film is absolutely stunning to behold, with an intriguing premise that keeps you thoroughly invested and some of the most gorgeous cinematography in some time, despite the film taking place almost entirely inside of a single house. The expert sense of composition and movement that Perkins excels at builds and maintains a startling and sometimes overwhelming sense of dread and pure guttural terror, and his keen use of carefully calculated jumps will illicit some serious creeps for open minded horror fans. He also wisely keeps the film both focused but also vague, giving it a bit of a mystery flair that will keep you wondering what will come next. And of course, as mentioned before, the dialog and structure of the film is pure poetry. Very classy work. But it comes at a cost. That being the frankly bizarre sense of pacing that is a result of the calm, calculated storytelling. I hate to say it, but this is a phenomenal short film that is nearly destroyed because it is slowly (and arguably needlessly) dragged to feature length to the point of hilarity and then frustration. There's no good reason this same film could not have been told in a much shorter span of time. A forty minute short-subject with this exact same script and these exact same shots would have been a revelation of pure terror. But padding it out to near ninety minutes is nearly a kiss of death to the entire project. There's only so long you can see Wilson slowly wandering down the hallways moving at a pace of only one step every ten seconds before you feel a yawn arising... only so many times the camera can linger eerily on the same open doorway while slowly zooming in for effect before it starts to feel empty... only so many times you can hear the same droning creaks of floorboards for minutes on end before it loses effect. The pacing is nearly a disaster. As it stands, it's almost impossible to recommend "I Am the Pretty thing That Lives in the House" to any potential audience. It's beautiful. Stunning even. And a wonderful ghost story told in an unconventional fashion. But it comes at the cost of pacing. I can see too many people being too bored of it to suggest it to anyone outside of the most forgiving of genre fans. But if you prefer and enjoy deliberate horror. If you relish in the slow-burn of features like "The Witch" and "The Shining." You might get something out of it. I give it an above average 6 out of 10. A beautiful but troubled work of art.


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