The House is further proof, as if it was needed, that animation can go where live action hesitates to venture. With three stories linked by a common theme – the relationship of characters to a dwelling – The House explores dark and grisly themes of possession, temptation and corruption, all executed with bravura stop-motion animation.

The British production, which is out on Netflix, has different directors and a common writer. Enda Walsh connects three stories that vary in style, tone and impact but have a few common elements. The biggest unifying factor is the place of residence that decides the fate of characters.

The 97-minute film has some big names attached. The voice cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode, Mia Goth, Will Sharpe and Jarvis Cocker. The background score, which is sinister or poignant, depending on the mood, is by Gustavo Santaolalla. (The soundtrack includes a hilarious ode by Jarvis Cocker to the real estate market.)

The first story, directed by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels, is the creepiest and the best. The impecunious Raymond, who often lets liquor get the better of him, enters into a Faustian deal with a mysterious developer. Raymond (Matthew Goode) gives up his modest home and moves into a plush mansion with his wife Penny (Claudia Blakey), daughter Mabel (Mia Goth) and the infant Isobel (Eleanor De Swaef-Roels).

The House. Courtesy Netflix.

Only Mabel can see beyond the luxurious trappings and sense that something is not quite right about the estate manager Thomas (Mark Heap), the workers who lurk in the corners, and the mansion itself. Even as the parents lose themselves in their newfound fortune, the children head out on an adventure that takes the film into horror territory. The puppets look like they have been made out of hairy cork – part of the film’s overall unsettling quality.

The second film, by Niki Lindroth von Bahr, combines humour and horror. A rodent (Jarvis Cocker) who is hoping to sell his home and spend the rest of his life on a boat has to deal with a fur beetle infestation and then an invasion by potential buyers. Like the previous episode, this film reminds us of the lesson from fairy tales – a curse is often disguised as a gift.

The House. Courtesy Netflix.

The third film leavens the mood. Director Paloma Baeza conjures up a pastel-shaded and inviting Hayao Miyazaki-style world in which an anthromorphised cat gets an unwelcome visitor.

Rosa (Susan Wokoma) owns a decrepit house that has survived a great flood. Rosa grapples with two freeloading tenants – Jen, voiced by Helena Bonham Carter, and Elias, voiced by Will Sharpe – and dreams of refurbishing the house whenever she can afford to.

The House. Courtesy Netflix.

Jen’s mysticism-spouting friend, the aptly named Cosmos (Paul Kaye), gets Rosa’s fur flying. A self-declared expert in Tibetan chanting and a firm believer in spiritual solutions to mundane problems, Cosmos proves to be the key to Rosa’s future. After the scares of the previous two films, this seriocomic episode is a visual and tonal relief.

The House (2022).