I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE (2016), available on Netflix, is a solid ghost story about a hospice nurse, a writer and a ghost.
“A house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living,” Lily, the nurse says in narration at the beginning. “It can only be borrowed by the ghosts who have stayed behind.”
Lily arrives at a secluded old house to care for Iris, a famous horror writer whose health is failing to the point where she hardly ever talks and can no longer care for herself. The creaky house spooks her at first but over time she settles in. Confused, Iris calls her Polly and asks why she doesn’t talk to her anymore. Lily discovers one of Iris’s books, which Iris claims is true and was told to her by a ghost named Polly. A story about a man who built a house for his beautiful bride only to entomb her in it.
Within a year, Lily tells us in the beginning, she will be dead.
I really enjoyed this one, which was written by Osgood Perkins, actor Anthony Perkins’ (PSYCHO) son. It’s a solid piece of storytelling, a simple, single-note ghost story that is moody and heavy with dread. Periodic dreamlike beyond-the-grave narration helps make the story very atmospheric. In some ways, the film reminded me of THE OTHERS and THE WITCH. Slow burn stories that require patience and a different level of engagement, that try to get under your skin with atmosphere rather than in your face with scares.
Recommended if you’re looking for a good old-fashioned ghost story.