I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is a cryptic ghost story from Netflix – here’s how the movie ends. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is directed by Osgood Perkins, who previously helmed slow-burn 2015 horror The Blackcoat’s Daughter. That film starred Emma Roberts (Scream Queens) and told a non-linear tale about possession and isolation. What the movie lacked in jump scares it made up for with great performances and shocking twists.
Netflix have recognized the popularity of horror in recent years, offering everything from engrossing shows like The Haunting Of Hill House to the utter insanity of The Perfection. The streaming service is known for taking gambles on odd projects, which applies to Perkins’ I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House. The story follows live-in nurse Lily, who is hired to look after Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss), a novelist with dementia. Lily begins to suspect there’s a ghost in the house which might be linked to a character from one of Iris’ books.
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To say I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House was met with a mixed response is putting it mildly. The movie was greeted with very divisive reviews, with some viewers loving its creepy, dread-filled atmosphere and lack of explanations, whilst others felt it was a boring chore. It’s a movie that is the definition of “Love it or hate it,” which also has to do with its ending. The story of I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is quite simple, with Lily (Ruth Wilson, The Affair) announcing early on that she’s just turned 28 but won’t live to see 29 – essentially revealing her fate upfront.
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is very slow-paced, with the film revealing Polly (Lucy Boynton, Sing Street) – the character from Iris’ novel – was apparently real, and moved into the same house in 1813. For some unexplained reason, Polly’s husband murders her and seals her body in the walls. Lily sees black mold growing from the spot where her body is buried and later has a vivid hallucination of mold growing on her arms. Iris also keeps calling Lily “Polly,” and eventually claims Polly has abandoned her. The ending features a moment where the ghost whispers something in Iris’ ear and Lily later dies of a heart attack when she finally sees Polly.
Iris also dies and years later a new family moves into the house, with Lily now existing there as a ghost. While The Blackcoat’s Daughter was somewhat cryptic, viewers were at least able to piece it together. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, on the other hand, seems more focused on building atmosphere than telling a complex story, which is one reason reaction has been so split. Nearly everything is left ambiguous, in a way that invites viewer interpretation; maybe Polly never existed or she’s a fictional character who is somehow haunting her creator. The movie leaves audiences with a lot of questions, which for better or worse, seems to be how it was designed.
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