Movie Homes can do so much more than just showing us how film characters live. They can be used to scare us, act as a romantic getaway, catapult us into a different moment of history or sometimes even are the stars in a movie.
I truly believe that some films would only be half as a good if it weren’t for some of the character homes you find in films. Therefore houses are just as important as the characters that live in them. After all, a house is a reflection of its inhabitant’s personalities. They can also be used to support a movie’s plot.
The above house in When a Stranger Calls is an excellent example of this. The house takes on a persona onto itself, portraying that of a character. The filmmakers have built the exterior of this remote lake house in Beverly Hills and shot the interiors in the studio. Most of the movie actually takes place inside the house. The movie owners are a rich doctor and his posh wife.
What makes this movie house so special is not only the awesome interior and exterior design, but how the house was used to create suspense and terror. E.g. indoor lights turn on when the main character enters rooms and hallways. At the end of the film those same lights guide the audience to where the killer might be lurking.
And then there is the Aviary (see below), the heart of the house and movie. At the beginning it is a peaceful sanctuary and at the end it turns into a place of terror. Some of its features like the birds, the pond and a water sprinkler are introduced at the start of the film and pay off nicely towards the end.
This 2006 film is a remake of the 1979 film When a Stranger Calls, it makes it entertaining to watch, but without the house it would just be your average horror flick. Watch how the above house gets introduced in When a stranger calls.
Other great movie home examples are:
In Rosemary’s Baby - The spooky Bramford Building, which is The Dakota, West 72nd Street, New York in real life. The apartment building just adds so much to the tone of the whole movie. The Dakota is also famous as the home of former Beatle John Lennon from 1973 to his murder in the archway of the building in 1980.
In Deep Blue Sea– The deep blue sea under water lab Aquatica. I know it is not a typical house, but it is the home of the characters working there. I re-watched the movie so often just because of its locale and how director Renny Harlin makes great use of it.
In Somethings Gotta Give - The beach house is just picturesque and perfect for its main character, a holed up playwright. Much thought has been put into the layout of the house. Harry's guest bedroom sits opposite Erica's main bedroom, but there is a meeting area in the middle containing a grand den and attached kitchen, which sets up the play between them nicely.
In What Lies Beneath – A remarkable lake house, as it got built from ground up just for the movie. It’s beautiful at daytime, but creepy with shadows at night and therefore a carefully crafted house inside and out.
What are your favourite movie houses/homes and why?