Good Drama, Lacklustre Horror
While Our House fails to establish itself as a particularly scary or gripping horror film, it does work quite well as a drama with light horror elements. With a strong thematic core and a pretty likeable group of characters, Our House works surprisingly well to establish a fractured family dynamic dealing with loss and grief. Beyond this dramatic element though, there really isn’t anything noteworthy here that hasn’t been done better elsewhere although the lack of jump scares is a welcome change of pace.
The story begins with a family living a happy life with Dad Richard (John Ralston) building a wireless renewable energy device. After a tragic accident takes the life of their Mum and Dad, the plot skips forward 3 months to show eldest son Ethan (Thomas Mann) struggling to keep the family unit together. Between moody teen Matt (Percy Hynes White) and innocent Becca (Kate Moyer), Ethan struggles to juggle their needs with a full time job and household chores. When he discovers the wireless device sitting in the basement, he turns it back on and inadvertently lets a spiritual presence in the house.
Most of Our House’s run time is pretty formulaic, switching between dramatic horror scenes in the evening as Ethan switches the machine on with the daily struggle of the family trying to bond during the day. Convinced that the spirits of their Mum and Dad have returned, Becca embraces the paranormal while Matt remains reserved but open and Ethan cautiously guarded. It’s this dynamic that elevates an otherwise mediocre film before devolving into a needlessly action-driven CGI fest at the end.
When you view Our House as a film about loss and confronting grief, this lacklustre horror actually works surprisingly well. The horror elements are generally not very good and the final act does break down the barriers and turns the film into a clumsy action thriller. Despite this, the characters are well written and likeable, helping the film rise to the level of mediocrity. It’s far from perfect and the film does have some issues but props to the creators for at least attempting to create something with a deeper meaning. For that alone, Our House is a commendable effort but one that ultimately falls short of its interesting premise.
Verdict - 4/10