I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House movie full length review - I am the bad movie that drags down your evening
Although you might not often think about it, your moment-to-moment sense of "normalcy" is surprisingly easy to disrupt.
Somebody speaks to you with slightly too-open, unblinking, staring eyes and a fixed gaze, or stands too close to you in the elevator when there's only the two of you, thereby wordlessly invading your personal space, and all of a sudden you're uncomfortable. It's quite surprising how easy it is to unbalance your sense of personal, situational well-being. It's a peculiar, instinctive thing.
Unfortunately, SOME writer/directors, Osgood Perkins for example, tend to confuse chaining together a long string of glacially slow- moving, discomfort-creating camera shots as an expression of artful horror. And that is all "I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House" is; a long collection of discomfort-creating set shots, strung together one after the other, attempting to pass itself off as good horror. And it's just not. It is excruciatingly slow in literally every scene, has a threadbare story, and virtually starts, goes, and ends nowhere.
Even the scene with Bob Balaban who plays Mr. Waxcap, representing Iris Blum in her legal affairs, is simply the presentation of an uncomfortable conversation. It's just our heroin, Lily, repeatedly trying to be friendly and reasonable and us watching every attempt and overture thudding against Mr. Waxcap and sliding to the floor like a wet dishcloth thrown against a wall. There's no logical reason for such a painfully distorted conversation to take place and for Mr. Waxcap to be so stonily disagreeable; it's just there to add to our sense of discomfort. It has absolutely no logical integration or justification relative to the overall plot.
In point of fact, there are really only two genuinely (somewhat) frightening scenes in the entire picture. One is a telephone cord that is being lifted by something we cannot see and one is Lily's reaction when she sees an apparition, which is actually a pretty good little piece of acting. (Although, from a directorial standpoint, it would've been better if we only saw our heroin's reaction because when we actually see the apparition we're quite disappointed as viewers.) And why does our heroin die at that particular moment? Just scared to death, or something? An incredibly weak plot line at best.
Both of these scenes actually feel distinctively out of place because they're so out of keeping with the endless nothingness of the entire balance of the picture. And, by the way, who or what was pulling on the phone cord and why did it do it? That's poltergeist- like activity and nothing else like that happens in the picture??
This movie is a repeat offense by writer/director Osgood Perkins. Another one of his movies, "February", has the very same tedious, thudding metronome beat and metre to it as did this piece of junk. Perkins thinks he can turn his personal-discomfort crank and people will mistake what they're seeing as insightful, creative horror. It's procedural garbage. As far as I can tell, Perkins has no creative insight as to what makes a decent horror picture at all.