Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, “The House of Secrets” is a psychological thriller with a thought-provoking storyline that explores love, politics and mental health. The story revolves around Sarah, played by Najite Dede, who must recall military secrets from her spy lover that could keep Nigeria from electing a former military dictator.
Beyond its entertainment value, Najite Dede points out that the movie reminds its audience to never suppress or overlook past trauma. She said this was particularly important for Nigerians given the country’s political history. The message is driven home by the film’s theme song: Never Forget, composed by Tolu ‘Tyanx’ Obanro.
The House of Secrets was officially released on the 30th of June 2023, as part of Amazon Prime Video exclusive streaming deal with Anthill Studios. Some key themes which may interest film lovers and critics include:
Uncovering The Matrix:
Najite Dede, an experienced Theatre Director, explains that her character Sarah is like a character in a stage play. Sarah has to navigate surroundings that reveal themselves to her as increasingly suspicious. However, Sarah has to do this while traumatic events have turned her memory into a matrix as well. The film’s cinematography presents the convergence of both matrices in a unique way that film lovers will appreciate.
Najite Dede as Sarah
The Weight of Mental Health :
“The House of Secrets” takes viewers on a journey where characters like Sarah confront their past secrets. Through their experiences, viewers witness the painful realities associated with historical trauma. This reflects the broader context of Nigeria, where historical events such as military dictatorships, and societal injustices still cast shadows on people’s lives.
Through Dr Jide, played by Femi Jacobs, the audience gets a sense of the weight of mental health trauma. The doctor uses experimental medicine to treat Sarah for a rare kind of amnesia. This treatment reveals just how deep and lasting scars from trauma can be. Sarah experiences hallucinations, nervous tics and nightmares. Considering how isolating mental illness can be due to stigma, following the progress of this theme in the film will certainly give food for thought.
Efe Irele as young Sarah
Characters portrayed by Kate Henshaw, Funlola Aoefiyi-Rami and Keppy Ekpenyong, present the viewers with a case of history repeating itself in their performances as “Mrs Eket”, “Mrs Lawal” and “General Sanni” respectively. Their involvement in the political events of “The House of Secrets” might bring to viewers’ minds some of Nigeria’s recent history. A question then presents itself to the audience: How can the cycle of history be transformed?
Love in the Military:
Perhaps a less explored theme in public discussion is what life is like for families who have loved ones in the military. “The House of Secrets” shows the many ways the military strains Sarah and Panam’s relationship. Panam, played by Shawn Faqua, often has to choose between his vow to serve Nigeria and his vow to the woman he loves. A sense of duty can be complicated when the heart pulls in different directions, viewers may be shocked by what emotions putting themselves in Panam’s shoes will reveal.
Efe Irele and Shawn Faqua as Sarah and Panam
In conclusion, “The House of Secrets” not only captivates audiences with its gripping plot which explores several themes but also resonates deeply with, especially the Nigerian, audience by reminding viewers of the importance of acknowledging and addressing past trauma.