Director: Anthony Scott Burns
Writer: Nathan Parker
Based on: Phasma Ex Machina (2010)
Cast: John Ralston, Thomas Mann, Percy Hynes White, Lucius Hoyos, Allison Hossack, Kate Moyer, Nicola Peltz, Marcia Bennett, Robert B. Kennedy
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2018
Ethan (Thomas Mann) is a college student with a passion project: ELI is supposed to bring wireless electricity to the world. Focusing on this project, together with his girlfriend Hannah (Nicola Peltz), is the most important thing for him. That is until his parents (John Ralston, Allison Hossack) are both killed in a car accident. Ethan moves back home to take care of his siblings Matt (Percy Hynes White) and Becca (Kate Moyer). When he can, he still works on his machine. He soon notices that ELI may not bring wireless electricity, but it’s certainly bringing something to their house. Or someone. Ehtan is convinced that he has found a way to communicate with his parents and he throws himself even more deeply into the project.
Our House doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it’s a well-executed genre film that delivers exactly what you expect from it. It’s very enjoyable, albeit not great.
If you’ve seen a couple of ghost movies, Our House will hold no surprises for you. Nor much fear. But it is a good example for the fact that if you understand and appreciate a genre, you can create a very decent film by sticking to its conventions – a film that will be a good watch, even if it doesn’t stand out in anything.
Here we get nothing that isn’t tried and tested, but we get it all in a very decent execution: the characters are relatable and well fleshed out, the pacing is excellent and I really loved the ghost design. In short, the film doesn’t take any risks anywhere, but it works and isn’t boring even for a second.
The heart and soul of the film is the relationship of the siblings, grounding the story and giving it an emotional core that makes the stakes feel real. The dynamic between them also felt very realistic to me, especially as someone with a few siblings of my own. Matt in particular was well-characterized and White is really excellent in the role.
All of that makes Our House enjoyable and entertaining, but it doesn’t really start soaring. It feels a little like a warming up exercise for somebody who is learning the ropes of making a film before tackling a film they are really passionate about. Maybe that’s wath director Burns did – we’ll see how things turn out with his second film.