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“Casa De Novia” Blends Supernatural Thrills with Side-Splitting Laughs

This supernatural comedy offers a delightfully unique take on the haunted house genre.
April 30, 2024
4:24 pm
Casa De Novia

Nigerian cinema has long been defined by its emotional, high-drama narratives – whether that’s sweeping romantic sagas or intensely personal family stories. But “Casa De Novia,” aims to prove that Nollywood is capable of deftly blending genres in fresh, entertaining ways. Part supernatural thriller, part clever comedy, this haunted house romp offers a delightfully unique viewing experience that should appeal to genre fans and casual moviegoers alike.


The story follows Yoyo, an ambitious young journalist in Lagos who is desperately searching for a new place to live. When she stumbles on an opulent mansion in the upscale Ikoyi neighborhood that’s suspiciously affordable, Yoyo jumps at the chance to move in, unaware of the supernatural forces that lurk within. It doesn’t take long before strange occurrences – doors slamming, objects moving on their own – alert Yoyo to the presence of a restless spirit: the ghost of a man named Efosa who disappeared from the home years earlier under mysterious circumstances.


What makes “Casa De Novia” so engaging is the way it navigates the tonal tightrope between chills and laughs. There are certainly some genuinely unsettling, spine-tingling moments as Yoyo encounters Efosa’s spectral form and experiences the full brunt of the house’s paranormal activity. Director Adia crafts these supernatural set-pieces with an impressive command of moody atmosphere and well-timed jolts. Lead actress Anee Icha grounds the character of Yoyo with a palpable sense of growing dread, capturing the character’s gradual descent into this ghostly rabbit hole.


Efe Irele

The film never lets the scares completely overwhelm the comedy. It offsets the creepy elements with a healthy dose of humor, usually stemming from Yoyo’s sarcastic, sardonic reactions to the haunting. Whether she’s delivering withering quips to the disruptive spirit or getting caught up in the quirks of the eclectic supporting cast, Icha demonstrates sharp comedic chops that keep the overall tone playful and unpredictable. Laughs also arise from the inventive ways Yoyo tries to interact with or banish Efosa, leading to some delightfully absurd set-pieces, although some techniques are already cliché.


The result is an experience that consistently keeps the audience on their toes: one minute jumping from a scare, the next laughing out loud. “Casa De Novia” never lets the tonal juggling act get out of hand, skillfully blending the macabre and the mirth in a way that enhances the entertainment value. It’s a unique spin on the haunted house premise, one that expands the creative horizons of contemporary Nollywood beyond the expected dramatic tropes.


Thematically, the film also offers some intriguing avenues for exploration. Yoyo’s initially skeptical, cynical attitude toward paranormal activities gradually gives way to a more open-minded fascination, reflecting a broader cultural shift in Nigeria’s relationship with the supernatural. The movie suggests there’s a widespread acceptance, even reverence, for mystical forces that can’t always be easily explained or dismissed. Efosa’s restless spirit becomes a vessel for unpacking broader questions of life, death, and the mysteries of the afterlife.


At the same time, “Casa De Novia” balances those weightier themes with a healthy sense of humor and playfulness. While the ghostly elements tap into primal human fears, the comedy ensures the scares never become too overwhelming or intense. It’s an approach that aligns with Nollywood’s enduring reputation for blending entertainment and social commentary in accessible, emotionally resonant ways.


The technical craft on display also deserves praise, with the production design and cinematography doing an excellent job of crafting a palpably ominous, unsettling atmosphere within the mansion setting. The special effects, while occasionally haphazard, generally serve the story well in selling the supernatural occurrences. And the performances across the board, led by Icha’s charismatic turn, bring the necessary commitment to ground even the most fantastical elements.


However, the film is not without its shortcomings, The pacing can feel a bit uneven at times, with some scenes dragging on a tad too long or veering into predictable territory. As “Casa De Novia” barrels toward its conclusion, the film stumbles in a few areas, leaving the audience with a slightly uneven experience. Certain key moments feel a bit rushed or underbaked as if the narrative is eager to reach its final destination without fully exploring all the intriguing thematic and character-driven possibilities along the way.


Casa De Novia

Additionally, the climactic revelations and resolutions feel a tad too hastily assembled. Important pieces of the mystery surrounding Efosa’s tragic fate and the haunting of the mansion are crammed into the final act, leaving the audience with a lingering sense that the filmmakers may have bitten off a bit more than they could properly chew in the limited runtime.


However, these issues don’t completely detract from the overall entertainment value of “Casa De Novia.” The film’s moody, evocative cinematography and production design continue to elevate the supernatural thrills. Moreso, Anee Icha’s charismatic central performance grounds the proceedings, ensuring the audience remains invested in Yoyo’s paranormal odyssey even as the narrative occasionally falters.


Ultimately, “Casa De Novia” is a unique and largely successful blend of horror and comedy that expands the creative boundaries of contemporary Nollywood. While the ending may be a bit uneven, the film still earns its place as a must-see for genre fans seeking a fresh, unpredictable take on the haunted house formula.


Release Date:  March 29, 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, and 49 minutes

Streaming Service: Prime Video

Director: Uyoyou Adia

Cast:  Rex Okunzuwa, Anee Icha, Efe Irele, Tope Tedela, and Taye Arimoro

TNR Scorecard:


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