House! can best be described by saying it is broadly within the range of the socially-conscious British comedies of the 1990s like Brassed Off and The Full Monty. Maybe it was the fact that it came in the aftermath of those classic films that caused House! to stay pretty much unknown internationally.
While I would never claim that this is a once-a-century masterpiece or full of award-worthy performances, I will not hesitate to call this a criminally underrated and generally overlooked film.
The premise of the old, small town, ex-theatre bingo hall being threatened by a new national chain franchise nearby is great, and may have special appeal for me because of my weak spot for threatened architecture of that type.
The plot itself and the arc of suspense seem a tad small, but not too much so. The writing is decent, and the acting by the great cast is almost a triumph. British acting greats like Kelly Macdonald, Freddie Jones, and Miriam Margolyes are joined by Midsomer Murders’ Jason Hughes in a force-of-nature role.
I am in no position to judge whether the actors involved in this film master the Welsh accent properly, but the film does nicely settle into a small Welsh town atmosphere: small town life with its gossip and jealousies, coupled with rain and bingo. And there is also an added special ingredient appropriate for the land of mysticism and the second sight.
As you can see, I am a great fan of this film. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong in buying and watching this: at best, you will think of it as a great comedy in the great British comedy tradition; at worst, you will find this an entertaining and funny little film.
Please note that – to my knowledge – this film has only ever been released as Region Code 2 DVD, not as RC1.
Needless to say, the film’s title makes it notoriously difficult to search for it in the search engines of online shops.