By Mark Bell | September 26, 2014

A woman (Mary Ferrara) is confined to her home, with windows and doors locked and blocked. Her only companion is an artificial intelligence (voice of Edward Wright), a floating red house that won’t let her leave. The woman is a house designer, however, and she make alterations to the building on her computer, when she’s not tinkering with circuit boards and creating nondescript gadgets. All she wants is to leave, and she may have figured out how.

My main issue with Marcia Goetsch’s short film, The House, stems from an overall lack of context. We know that our female protagonist is being held against her will by the artificial intelligence of the house, but we’re not clear on why. The film’s final moments shed some light on the situation, but they don’t explain enough; we still don’t really understand the stakes.

Thus the resolution’s impact is undercut. If we don’t know why what we’re seeing is important, then how do we know it is? Likewise, without much grounding of the film otherwise to suggest when it is taking place, or where, we have no reason to be shocked or surprised by anything we’re presented. We’re just constantly left in a state of confusion. Even when our heroine battles the A.I. in a strange game, the suspense is lessened by our lack of knowledge on what they’re playing, or what it takes to win, etc.

The visual effects are solid enough, however, and the film only feels too long because you don’t know why you’re supposed to be caring about what is going on (no matter how manipulative the music score tries to be). Unfortunately, the lack of context is so large an issue that it completely undermines anything positive about the film. I’m not saying I needed lengthy exposition; I hate films that spend too much time explaining everything to me too. But there is a balance to be found between giving too much context and too little, and this film just doesn’t give you enough to work with.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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