Horror Review: The Night House (2021)
Spoiler Alert! The Night House (2021) is a psychological thriller with a standout performance by Rebecca Hall. I remembered Hall from The Prestige (2006) and The Town (2010) but she’s a prolific actor with a very impressive resume. Right off the bat, the thing that stands out the most to be about The Night House was Hall. This was a role that required physical and emotional commitment in order to sell the character and she delivered. Hall portrays Beth, a woman who is dealing with the very recent loss of her husband. Hall immediately pulls viewers into the whirlwind of her grief. There is a scene where Hall interacts with an invisible being. She completely sells it. The impact of that fairly important scene relies on Hall’s performance and she nails it.
Then the plot starts to make us question the motives of her late husband. As Beth stumbles through her emotions and suspicions, we are pulled along for the ride. The film has a slim cast, also starring Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis Hall and Evan Jonigkeit.
The Night House was directed by David Bruckner, who also directed The Ritual (2017) and VHS (2012). Bruckner does an amazing job at building tension throughout the film until it’s almost unbearable. It has a very similar feel to What Lies Beneath (2000). Beth and her husband lived in a beautiful house on a lake. A house that her husband built, which becomes a major part of the story. The film was written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski.
The final reveal of this film was a bit hard for me to comprehend. We find out that her husband had been creating a backwards or mirrored version of their home in the woods. He’d been bringing women that looked very similar to his wife to the house. Of course the first thought of Beth and the audience is that he is having affairs. But we learn as the movie unfolds that it’s not quite so simple. I understand the basic premise of the ending and I really like the concept of misguiding demons with a lookalike home and women. The rest was lost on me (during the first watch). But I didn’t really need to understand it more to like it.
I was extremely on edge while I watched The Night House. Again, Bruckner and Hall both deliver well. And at its core the folklore of the demon/haunting is fascinating. Overall, I loved this take on what could feel like a repetitive horror trope.
At the time of this post, the film is fairly accessible in the United States on various streaming apps.