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Is His House a True Story?

October 30, 2020
3 min read

Horror as a genre is not known for championing restraint. In fact, the contrary is generally encouraged. But once in a while, a film comes along that holds storytelling as its main responsibility over drowning its audience’s senses with one disturbing imagery after another. Debutant director Remi Weekes sets his story against the backdrop of the refugee crisis and weaves a tale that is at once terrifying and heart-warming. ‘His House’ revolves around Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku), a South Sudanese couple, who, after reaching England, are placed at a detention camp.

They are later released in the UK, although not as full citizens but as asylum seekers, who are told to follow a multitude of rules, given a meager weekly allowance, and provided with a home. Although the house is in terrible condition, it really makes them happy to have a home of their own after such a long time. However, they soon realize that something evil has followed them from Africa and has taken residence in their home as well, and to defeat it, they must first confront their own past. In this article, we try to figure out whether ‘His House’ is based on actual events.

Is His House Based on a True Story?

No, ‘His House’ is not based on a true story. Weekes adapted a story by Felicity Evans and Toby Venables for the film’s screenplay. However, while the supernatural element in the film is definitely fictional, the refugee crisis, asylum seekers, and their PTSD and survivor’s guilt are all too real. In the last few decades, the political and financial infrastructures of the middle east and certain parts of Africa have completely collapsed, resulting in one of the worst refugee crises in history. Millions have left their homes in search of a better life in various parts of Europe.

When they finally get there, they often encounter an indifferent government and a suspicious populace. Bol and Rial were a white-collar couple back in their native country, he a banker, she a teacher. After Rial’s students and fellow teachers are murdered by one of the warring parties, they are forced to leave South Sudan. During their journey by boat, they lost Nyagak (Malaika Wakoli-Abigaba), a young girl that Bol kidnapped during their journey so he and Rial can get on a bus.

They are both haunted by the fact that the young girl didn’t survive the travel, but they did. It is revealed that Bol’s theft of Nyagak is the leading cause of their suffering. The malevolent being that has pursued them in the UK is called “apeth” in the Dinka language or night witch, and it wants to punish Bol for his actions. Weekes masterfully imbued the story with African mythology and folklore to give it a unique character. The film has enough jump scares and a prevalent sense of dread that lasts throughout the runtime.

Read More: His House Ending, Explained 

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