Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Creepy New England Houses Full of Ghosts: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House
For inexplicable reasons, I watched the Netflix movie I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House... alone... at night. This movie (let's call it IATPT for brevity) is the thinking woman's horror movie.
The opening scene in IATPT is a black screen, a blurry figure of a woman appears, while Ruth Wilson talks about death and ghosts. When Ruth (Lily is her character), appears on the scene she is arriving at the beautiful New England home of a successful horror novelist. She's a nurse and is there to take care of this woman in her final days of dementia. Lily tells us she is the pretty thing that lives in the house, she just turned 28, and won't live to see 29.
So, why watch if we already know these things? First, to see how Lily meets her end. Will she trip over that rug at the bottom of the stairs? Succumb to the poisonous mold growing on the wall? Or strangle herself with that giant phone cord?
It also seems that Lily is not the only Pretty Thing living in the house. At first, Lily doesn't know that she and her charge are not the only inhabitants of the house. The house has a dark past, and a connection to one of the horror novelist's most successful books "The Lady Who Lives In the Walls."
IATPT is a movie that relies on shots of darkened doors and weird music. Not a lot happens. If my husband was at home, he wouldn't watch this anyway. He'd get bored. I can see why Netflix made this and not regular TV or film. It's got that independent movie vibe. Lily mostly sneaks around this big house, looking in drawers, and not turning enough lights on. The only people she, rarely, interacts with are the novelist and the executor of the estate. She just wanders around muttering to herself.
I would put the movie's time period at around the early 1980s from Lily's wardrobe and the few glimpses of cars in the film. I'm not sure of the legalities of leaving a single nurse alone with a client without breaks or vacation at this time, but it seems pretty sketchy even for then. I don't think the VON would approve.
I can't tell you how much I wish the novels of the author were real. Lily has never read them because "they're too scary." They sound right up my alley. There is the Shirley Jackson-esque quality to the novelist. Flashbacks show her typing in front of a big window while puffing away on a cigarette. Besides the book Lily ends up reading, there is one titled, "Underwater Housewife." Why can't that be real?!!
I have some things to say about the other Pretty Thing that are spoilery. I'll spoil them here (highlight if you wish to read them)...
Is the guy with mutton chops Polly's husband or a jealous suitor? Are they the couple that disappeared after the wedding? Why did he kill her? Why is she wandering around blindfolded? It's all so weird. I feel that the book would tell us more.
So I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House is not your usual horror movie. It's not really that much of a horror movie even. It is spooky. That creepy music- the continuous hum that reminded me of a furnace running- was getting to me. I wouldn't go into expecting big scares either. I still enjoyed it and am still thinking about it.
If you're a Shirley Jackson fan, I think you'd like watching this one. Check out the trailer.