Joseph Benjamin & Jibola Dabo Make ‘House on the Hill’ a Superstitious Masterpiece
Director: Ikechukwu Onyeka
Producer: Tochukwu McDonald
Script: Kingsley Fresh Onyenma
Cast: Joseph Benjamin, Jibola Dabo, Ikechukwu Onyeka, Oge Peters, Jude Chukwuka, Sele Kent Sele
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
If there were a ROK Viewers Choice Awards, this film would’ve won in the category for the best makeup effects (by Hakeem Onilogbo – AMVCA’s defending champion). Shot by Richard Mabiaku (Full House), the story centers on James (Joseph Benjamin) who loses his dad and instead of mourning, decides to go on a writing spree. His preferred abode was a house haunted by the spirit of a late catechist (Sele Kent Sele) in a far away village. It was known that the catechist had killed himself and his family over a public disgrace thirty years before. The house was now the living residence of a diseased village outcast, Martin (Samuel Rotimi), who James allowed to stay on regardless of getting himself contaminated. By the second day James had his first paranormal experience. In the long run he discovers the spirits don’t want his life, they only need him to do what he does best – to write a story for them.
On his arrival at the village, I saw no reason for his constantly being saucy. Where did he get the nerve to return to his flat after the living-room encounter with a ghost whose severed head rested on her lap? And later, how was he at ease with self-shutting windows and flickering lights in the middle of the night? After he got strangled by an invisible force, where did he find the courage to fall asleep before morning? No form of atheism could be this fearless in the face of such a malevolent supernatural. Why didn’t the catechist (in throwback scenes) have a go at Ajani (Jibola Dabo), his wife’s co-adulterer, when he twice had the chance? It was sad that Ajani suffered no ghostly torments nor extended torture. His death was quick and unclear, a far cry from anything I’d expected. Also, the hairy patch on his head may have been unnecessary, especially with the grayed version looking like cotton wool.
In a scene, James wins a victory against a handful of men simply by typing for the dead in the middle of the night. He could’ve relied on his shotgun and shakabula to tear their heads off instead of having lightning and thunder fight for him. Thankfully Martin got healed, except for his restored character being less of an entertaining animation than the former. Directed by Ikechukwu Onyeka (Full House), House on the Hill is a superstitious story well told and delivered for a fat 8/10.
Watch the opening scene here.