Home The Night House

The Night House (15)

Cast: Sarah Goldberg, Rebecca Hall, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Genre: Horror
Author(s): Luke Piotrowski, Ben Collins
Director: David Bruckner
Release Date: 20/08/2021
Running Time: 107mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

Schoolteacher Beth is devastated when her architect husband Owen takes his life, seemingly out of the blue. She wallows in grief in the lake house that Owen built for them, emotionally supported by friend and work colleague Claire and neighbour Mel. During her fitful sleeping hours, Beth experiences strange visions that suggest either she is losing her mind or there is a ghostly presence in the lake house.


LondonNet Film Review
The Night House (15)

Things go bump, boom and rat-a-tat-tat in director David Bruckner’s twisted psychological horror, which plays mind games with a widow at her lowest ebb and gently tightens the thumbscrews on us too. Written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, The Night House appropriates tropes familiar to audiences who prefer their thrills spooky rather than gory – occult symbology, creaking floorboards, nervy torchlit exploration – and fashions an engrossing conundrum that may prompt loving couples to question who is sleeping next to them in the marital bed…

The central mystery is tightly spun until the script has to reveal the source of its supernatural jiggery-pokery. The truth should set us free but Collins and Piotrowski’s deep dive into the recesses of an anguished mind comes perilously close to unravelling at the seams. Jump scares come at unexpected moments courtesy of composer Ben Lovett and the sound effects team, who suddenly turn up the volume to deafening in narrative lulls.

A powerhouse central performance from London-born actress Rebecca Hall as a wife tormented by her husband’s self-inflicted demise is a constant source of wonder, including one stunning unbroken shot of her emotional breakdown in juddering, gut-wrenching close-up. She approaches the full-throttle ferocity of Toni Collette in Hereditary. Even when the script isn’t wholly convincing, Hall is, terror etched across her tear-stained features as she puts her character through the emotional wringer with sadistic fervour.

She plays a schoolteacher called Beth who is devastated when her architect husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) takes his own life with a handgun while sitting in a rowing boat, floating close to the lake house he built for them. Beside his body is a cryptic handwritten note: “You were right. There is nothing. Nothing is after you. You’re safe now.” Copious glasses of alcohol numb Beth’s grief, causing concern for friend and work colleague Claire (Sarah Goldberg) and neighbour Mel (Vondie Curtis Hall).

During her fitful sleeping hours, Beth experiences strange visions that suggest she could be losing her mind in the midst of despair. Or perhaps, there is a ghostly presence in the home, trying to make contact from an astral plane. As an increasingly disturbed Beth tries to make sense of the spectral visitations, she discovers evidence that Owen may have been leading a double life. “There are worse things to find on your husband’s phone than fully clothed women who look like you,” soothingly suggests Claire.

The Night House send chills down the spine for the first hour, while our feverish imaginations are permitted to fill in the script’s intentional blanks. Once co-writers Collins and Piotrowski reveal their devilish narrative floorplan, it’s a bumpy final push to the grave, or salvation.

– Kim Hu


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