Ghost stories are my favourite types of stories and how they are translated onto the screen can be very tricky indeed. The M.R James film adaptation Whistle and I’ll Come To You was particularly creepy and has made an everlasting impression on me. So, when I see new ghost films I want to try them but I am always hoping to feel goose bumps on my skin. I am a traditionalist and cannot stray too far from the wonderful devices set up by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, M.R James, Susan Hill…the list goes on for me and I will leave you to discover them for yourself. Made by Netflix, I was hoping that I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House was going to deliver to their usual high standard.
The film is set in rural Massachusetts and follows a year in the life of a hospice nurse, Lily and her patient who happens to be a famous author, Iris Blum. What follows throughout the year is a horror that she never foresaw. A particularly gentle soul, Lily, is feeling rather homesick and isolated in the rural home of this odd elderly lady. As each day passes she becomes more and more fragile as she attempts to put together the pieces of this story that all starts with a book and an apparition. It is a rather wonderful story that although is set in the modern day it uses everything that makes a ghost story so brilliant. What also makes this film rather special is its lack of scares and jumps. This is usually a way to get a reaction out of people unnecessarily but what really scares you is the underlying creepiness of this film. this is felt very much throughout Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and the feeling is quite similar here too. There is an atmosphere felt throughout the house, the unsaid things between the nurse and her patient, the spectre that we see is a subtle yet unsettling. Its beauty lies in it simplicity.