Director: David Bruckner
Written by: Ben Collins & Luke Piotrowski
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin and Vondie Curtis-Hall
Before the horror starts in The Night House the draw to this film is the emotional turmoil that Beth (Rebecca Hall, Godzilla Vs Kong) is going through after her husband committed suicide. In every scene her face is full of both the anger at what he’s done and the grief that she is going through. Hall gives an incredible and nuanced performance that grabs your attention and doesn’t let you go. When the horror starts, it’s the much more effective thanks to her outstanding performance.
Beth is recently widowed after her husband, Owen, shot himself in the middle of the lake they live on. While going through his things, Beth finds his phone and sees a picture of someone who looks just like her – except it’s not her. Following the trail leads her down a dark path of discovery and she soon realises that there was more to Owen than she ever thought possible.
This is a dark and trippy horror film. You can never be sure what you’re seeing is actually happening or just inside Beth’s grief-stricken head. There is never another witness to the events and that makes it that much more unsettling. Every night strange things are happening in the house, the stereo turns on with loud music. Beth seems to be sleepwalking, but the dreams seem too real. It’s unsettling and heart pounding with tension. Every time night appears you know things about to get scary and you’ll be gripping your seat until daylight reappears.
There is one moment, when Beth is falling asleep after a night out with a friend, that the film perfectly lulls you into a false sense of security. Everything is quiet, until it’s not. In a second everything switches, with loud music, frantic camera cuts and a dream-like feeling that just makes the whole sequence trippy and relentless.
The Night House is a creepy and original horror film that will keep you guessing right up to the big reveal and when everything does slot into place, you’ll think back about how everything makes sense. The film doesn’t hold your hand but gives you enough to see the clues that were planted earlier.
Sadly, the ending is a little bit of a let-down. While it is happening, you’ll be gripping your chair but after the film ends you start to think about so many unanswered questions. What would happen next? Because it’s not really resolved. What about what’s under the floorboards in the replica house? It feels like the film was strapped for time and decided to end. It’s still a tense horror film and one that will pass the test of time.
The Night House is dark, tripping, incredibly unsettling and will chill you. It’s one of the best horror films of the year and this year has already had some great horror outings. Rebecca Hall gives it everything and it really pays-off. There are a few jump-scares, but it never relies on them. Instead you have a slow-building horrifyingly and tension filled film that just misses the mark with the landing.