Creeping its way into UK and US cinemas this weekend is the psychological horror-thriller, The Night House. Directed by David Bruckner, the film stars Rebecca Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, and Sarah Goldberg, and revolves around a teacher called Beth, who begins to experience strange phenomena in her house, shortly after her husband’s death.
In the movie, Beth is a widower, following the sudden death of her husband Owen. The pair had spent 14 years together, but it all ended rather abruptly, when Owen took his own life.
On the night of Owen’s funeral, Beth is at home alone when she hears a strange and unexplained knocking. The next day, she notices footprints outside, suggesting someone may have been in the house.
Over subsequent nights, Beth begins to experience disturbing visions, as well as further unexplained phenomena, leading her to believe there is someone or something in her house – possibly the spirit of Owen. However, as these strange occurrences begin to play out, Beth begins to learn new information about her husband, suggesting he wasn’t the person she thought he was.
Was Owen really the devoted spouse he appeared to be? And more importantly, has he come back from the grave?
Over the past few years, horror has built a strong and steady reputation for continually delivering interesting, intriguing, and frightening movies that delight and terrify audiences. Today, horror fans can add a new, and bloody marvellous addition to this burgeoning collection of films with the excellent The Night House.
This is a movie that not only captivated and thrilled me, but spooked me too! I watch a lot of horror movies and I don’t spook easily, and yet with this film I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck on more than one occasion.
The Night House is a brilliant little movie, which is perfect for those who love sinister ghost stories. It is a film which is part thriller, part chiller, and offers a little more depth than your average haunted house picture.
A large chunk of the movie is spent on unravelling the mystery surrounding Beth’s husband – about who Owen was as a person and what secrets he might have been hiding. This is all very interesting stuff, which keeps the film ticking along nicely; however, as much as this movie is about uncovering buried secrets, and teasing out a mystery, it is also about grief and depression.
Through Beth the audience is given a first-hand account of what it is like to deal with a sudden loss, and how that impacts a person moving forward, especially a person who already suffers from dark thoughts. At one point in the movie, I began to question what I was watching. Was this a movie about a haunting or simply someone going through a trauma, and possibly descending into madness?
This sort of second-guessing demonstrates the strength of the script, as well as the strength of the central performance from Rebecca Hall, who is simply superb as Beth. Hall carries huge chunks of this movie on her shoulders, she is never short of perfect in the role, and makes Beth a fascinating character to watch.
Due to the nature of the story, there are various points in this movie where Hall has to act or re-act to events around her, even when she is on screen alone. Not only does she handle this effortlessly, she also manages to convey the idea that something could be lurking in the shadows.
Of course, I can’t possibly tell you what is in the shadows – no spoilers from me – but know this: The big revelation in the movie is good, and left me feeling satisfied that the build-up paid off. But in all honesty, even if the climax had stumbled, I would have still found plenty to enjoy about the rest of the picture.
The Night House is atmospheric, very creepy, and completely captivating. It utilises a very small cast to deliver its story, and knows exactly how to draw in its audience and when to make them jump!
Should you go see it? You bet you should!
The Night House is good, solid stuff and not to be missed. It’s a big thumbs up from me.