Photo courtesy of Netflix

Confronting Past Trauma in ‘His House’

It’s safe to say that many of us try to ignore the things that have happened to us in the past, specifically things that caused us so much pain and frustration. What if we were forced to see the terrifying things we tried to ignore? Would we run or confront our past?

Rial and Bol had to face that very dilemma in the movie His House. Released on Oct. 30., the film follows a refugee couple who escapes their violent, war-filled hometown in South Sudan. While crossing the ocean, their boat abruptly malfunctions and all passengers are forced overboard. Unfortunately, Rial and Bol are unable to save their daughter and she passes away as a result of accidental drowning. Soon after, they settle into their home in England, where they begin experiencing bone chilling hauntings and hallucinations.   

Minus her short term confusion, Rial is quickly accepting of the activity in the house. She constantly sees her daughter and other members of her tribe who did not make it out of their village alive. She almost immediately understands the source of it all. The death of her daughter still hurts her, and she knows this. On the other hand, Bol is confused and terrified about the noises he hears and the spirits he sees. The more he ignores it, the more the attacks occur and the more hauntings he has to deal with. As time passes, Rial tries to convince him to accept what has happened and deal with it. Instead, Bol pushes it to the side which then causes strain on their marriage. Meanwhile, his visions get much worse.

The individual consequences of how Bol and Rial respond to their trauma relates to our everyday life. Rial is having less of a hard time accepting what has happened to her family because she doesn’t run from it, she faces it. Bol, however, is literally and figuratively being torn apart because he tries to forget about what they went through. Glossing over internal struggles does not make them go away. If people ignore things that bother them, they run the risk of carrying it into new relationships and phases of their life.

Beyond jump scares and creepy shadows, His House can serve as a reminder to the audience to not be afraid of confronting things that have been traumatizing for them.



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