Film Review: African ghosts follows South Sudanese asylum seekers to England in ‘His House’

His house

I haven’t seen a haunted house story that scared me quite as much as this one did.  I was constantly at the edge of my seat and scared stiff for major parts of this film.  The scariest  thing of all, was that this could easily be a reality for the thousands of immigrants seeking refuge in a ‘safe place’ after surviving civil war in their home countries. 

Remi Weeks masterful takes us along on an emotional rollercoaster of a ride as we journey through a series of paranormal  events in the minds of African refugees in Britain. 

‘His House’, is about a married African couple escaping violence in their war-torn home-country of South Sudan. They arrive at a British detention center and soon afterwards are mysteriously released to a dilapidated house that is clearly too large for only two people.  They receive stern warnings not to move out of the house, otherwise face deportation.

At first they are overjoyed to be released and be ‘gifted’ such a big house, but their joy soon turn into horror as they begin to experience some strange presence in the house. Eventually, the couple begin to turn on themselves as they are forced to deal with events that occured along the way on their journey for survival.

They must now choose between fitting in and accepting the comforts of their new life or going back to repay a certain debt to The Witch.

This film is very clever in how it depicts some of the horrors survivors of war might face while playing it off against a western concept of a horror film.  In actuality, what most of us deemed to be a horror film, is oftentimes real life trauma that exists in the minds of immigrants coming from a world of unspeakable horrors.  

The immigrant back-story is often overlooked once they arrive in their ‘safe countries’. Particularly with those coming from war torn regions, rather than being offered mental and psychological support, they are required to ‘be happy’ to be to be alive,  oftentimes ignoring the deep mental scars that they may have sustained along their journey. They are forced to smile, to fit in, speak ‘good english’ and admonished to be “one of the good ones” or face deportation.

"Your ghosts follow you, they never leave. They live with you. It's when I let them in that I could start to face myself".

Bol Majur

In a new world where even familiar looking faces can turn hostile; in one scene, we see Rial approach 3 young black British boys, and instinctively starts speaking her native language to them, only for them to turn around and start to ridicule her accent and the gall to presume they were even from Africa. 

This film touches on so many elements of the immigrant’s struggle to assimilate to a new culture and environment, all the while being reminded of  the ‘ghosts’ and hardships of where they came from. 

Directed by Remi Weekes 

Screenplay by;

Felicity Evans
Toby Venables 
Remi Weekes

Sope DirisuBol Majur
Wunmi MosakuRial Majur
Malaika Wakoli-AbigabaNyagak
Matt SmithMark Essworth
Javier BotetThe Witch
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