I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House isn’t just a declarative sentence out of the hypothetical children‘s book More Hauntings With Dick And Jane. It’s also the second feature film by up-and-coming horror director Osgood (a.k.a. Oz) Perkins, which will receive a wide release before Perkins’ debut feature, February (a.k.a. The Blackcoat’s Daughter). A24 bought U.S. distribution rights to The Blackcoat’s Daughter shortly after its debut at TIFF in 2015, but keeps pushing back its release date.
Things are a lot less complicated for Pretty Thing, which hits Netflix this Friday. The streaming service released a trailer for the film earlier today, promising a chilly, cryptic, almost abstract tale on an old-fashioned ghost story. Ruth Wilson stars as Lily, an uptight spinster type who takes a job as a housekeeper/nurse for retired thriller author Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). Senile Iris insists on calling Lily “Polly,” which turns out to be the name of the heroine from Iris’ most popular novel; Lily suspects that there’s much more to it than that, though, and that Polly herself might still be living, unseen, in the house with them.
The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd saw Pretty Thing at this year’s TIFF, where he said it “envelops the audience immediately in its carefully calibrated unease, achieved through a variety of unique methods.” He did have reservations about the film—namely “a slow burn that burns too slowly, the movie establishes its mesmerizing mood and then just sits on it for 90 minutes”—but adds, “Perkins has developed a style so controlled—and so entirely out of step with contemporary horror fads—that I can’t help but doubt my reservations.” He’s since revisited the film, as promised; you can read a full review later this week.
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House debuts exclusively on Netflix on October 29.