The House

  • Review Date: March 14, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 82 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sweet Korean animated ghost story has complex themes.
  • Review Date: March 14, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 82 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The overall takeaway of The House is the notion that we should rethink our definition of progress in urban settings, considering the impact that redevelopment and gentrification can have on communities and the livelihood of those who inhabit them. It also espouses the idea that what makes a good home has little to do with its square footage or shiny exterior.

Positive role models

Ga-young, though initially disdainful of the slummy neighborhood she lives in, comes to see the value of the network in the community and the people who reside there, and the history of the houses, and fights to save them from being demolished. Her friend Hee-ju loves her shabby apartment in spite of its wear and tear.


The House has no violence but is, ultimately a ghost story permeated with the idea of death and the natural end of all things. The idea that houses have spirits -- represented here by amorphous, shape-shifting blobs with personalities who experience sadness, and even illness -- may be frightening or difficult to grasp for younger kids.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In a couple of scenes, two adult women are seen drinking beers with dinner. There is a reference to getting drunk, and in one scene, a woman is shown a little tipsy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The House is an animated Korean film with English subtitles featuring complex themes about gentrification, the meaning of community, death, loss, and the inevitability of change. Kids younger than teenagers are unlikely to engage here, even as they may enjoy the quirky spirits that haunt the houses. Teenagers are a more fitting target, but it should be noted that the issues presented are not tidily resolved in the way Western audiences are likely accustomed.

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Kids say

What's the story?

The jobless Ga-young (Kim Kkobbi) rooms with her friend Hee-ju (Ha Jae-sook) in a slummy neighborhood in Seoul, Korea, but longs for winning the lottery and moving on up to a shiny new condominium being developed nearby. But she soon learns that the shabby houses in her run-down neighborhood have more than history -- they're haunted by spirits who watch over and cherish the intimate details of their lives. When the neighborhood is slated for redevelopment, Ga-young is forced to rethink her position on the value of the community, history, and the cost of the relentless pursuit of change.

Is it any good?


If you're looking for a captivating way to introduce heady issues like gentrification, old vs. new, and the debate about pushing forward while trying to salvage some of the past, The House is a sweet, quirky, often funny, if dispiriting, solution. The Korean animation mixes in real photos and footage from a presumably real neighborhood in Seoul, and sometimes veers into a lovely, watercolor-like palate of dreaminess as it navigates the two young female roommates with different values, and the spirit ghosts they befriend along the way. 

Parents may find the debate here oversimplified, but in some ways that's a good thing for younger viewers, who can easily digest the issues presented so intelligently here. And if that fails to grab them, they may still be transfixed by the imaginative spirits who watch over the houses, their search for the "God of Land" and the unexpected ways they try to hold on to the keepsakes every house leaves behind.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about neighborhoods. Have you noticed changing neighborhoods where you live or near where you live? How is the issue discussed in your community? Are there people who support or protest the change? What are the arguments for and against the developments?

  • The House takes great pains to show the value of old things over new things. What old things do you have or own in your house that you value? Is your house old or new? Are there any practices or heirlooms in your family passed down from generation to generation? 

  • How is The House similar to other ghost stories you've seen or heard? How is it different?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 17, 2011
Cast:Choi Jeong Ho, Ha Jae Sook, Kkobi Kim
Director:Park Mi-Sun
Studio:Korean Academy of Film Arts
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:82 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of The House was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bydaughterofhappiness January 19, 2015

The House...

I stumbled across this movie maybe a year ago on Netflix (not sure if still on there) when looking for anime to watch... I never expected to end up with this beautiful film. This movie shows a very different perspective to things than we in the modern, fast, new world realized. I even cried a bit at the end. Definitely something everyone should see, even though it's not very popular at all. If I remember correctly, the main character gets a bit tipsy at times, and some parts of the movie can be kind of scary. Overall, though, it's a very thought-provoking (while still fun) movie to watch.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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