Film characters who speak of themselves as objects seem to detach themselves from the reality of their lives yet ironically become closer to it. In “I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House”, the main character breaks the fourth wall, tells the audience the underlying premise, and predicts her death, almost all in the opening scene.
The film’s premise is that a house where violent death has happened can never be sold or purchased by the living again – it can only be borrowed by the ghosts left behind. The living who choose to stay in it will suffer premature death, even a violent death at the hands of the ghosts.
Oz Perkins, who wrote and directed the film, tells the story in a dreamlike, almost circular, manner. He injects dread about death into the audience not by the traditional techniques that define the horror genre. Instead, he treats the film as a mood piece designed to encourage the audience to question their own mortality, not a literal storytelling device to scare them to death.
If you’re looking for a horror film with the standard trope, then this isn’t the film for you. But if you’re looking for a horror film that can redefine the genre without calling attention to itself, then you should watch it at Cinemark!
Lily Saylor (Ruth Wilson) was hired to become the live-in nurse of an elderly bedridden author, Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). She starts to freak out when unusual things begin happening in and around the old house during her first night. She cannot tell Iris of the subsequent events as the old lady spends her time in bed and rarely speaks.
From the start, Lily has a premonition of her early death. During the opening sequence, she breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience her name, her birthday three days ago when she turned 28, and her prediction that she will not live to be 29. Aside from the certainty of her death, the audience is also reminded time and time again albeit subtly that the house is haunted by the ghosts of its previous residents.
Apparently, a groom violently killed his bride in the house although the reasons aren’t made clear. He is seen nailing the boards of a wall while covered in his wife’s blood, a murder that will haunt the next residents.
How does Lily die? Suddenly, swiftly and horrifically. But this doesn’t stop the next family from taking up residence even after her corpse was discovered in a grotesque position.
What happens to them? You have to see the film to find out – it isn’t pretty but it’s pretty petrifying.