The Night House
David Bruckner’s psychological horror The Night House was put on hold due to the pandemic after its early 2020 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The atmospheric feature is now being released and will likely please fans of the genre as it provides all the thrills without overlooking the storytelling.
High school teacher Beth (Rebecca Hall) is mourning her recently deceased architect husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). The designer had taken out their boat one day and committed suicide. The protagonist’s obsessive attachment to her spouse’s memory starts off as a natural coping mechanism, but she is left with too many questions as nothing in his behaviour could have foretold such a tragedy.
Beth decides to carry on living in the house that her other half built for them, which is located in the woods by a small lake. When unusual occurrences start happening around her, the teacher feels that there are secrets to uncover. She starts looking through her late partner’s possessions and unravels a shocking parallel reality that had been unfolding in the background unbeknownst to her. While the character begins to wonder if she ever knew her husband at all, the sinister activity in her house intensifies.
Although the plot is imperfect if pondered in detail, The Night House does not disappoint as a movie experience. The audience can expect jump scares and an effective soundscape that keeps the tension going. Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski’s screenplay steadily builds up momentum and reserves a couple of plot twists. The picture’s most successful element, however, is Hall’s performance, as she brings pathos and such commitment to the role that it ultimately lends credibility to the plot itself.
The piece is perhaps let down by a conclusion that can seem unconvincing and far-fetched, especially after the first two thirds of the story instill a sense that – due to Beth’s mental and emotional state – every unexplained detail could be made plausible if attributed to an unstable psyche. While it resorts to utilising all the basic horror conventions, the film stands out for its gripping narrative, alongside having a female protagonist who expresses fear but is undeterred in her quest for the truth.
Although not a masterpiece, The Night House more than fulfills its duties as a suspenseful thriller by gripping the audience’s attention and taking them on a worthwhile adventure.
The Night House is released on 20th August 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Night House here: