In "The Night House", a recent widow is haunted by a malevolent presence in her home, leading to a reveal of secrets increasingly darker the deeper she allows herself to be pulled into them. David Bruckner directs and his work includes the Netflix horror "The Ritual" and the segment "Amateur Night" as part of the horror anthology film "V/H/S". As someone familiar with horror stories, his work here with Rebecca Hall breathed life into a brand new character for his work.
The display of Beth (Rebecca Hall) as a woman working through the real impact of grief for the sudden loss of her husband, and intensifying hauntings provides one diabolic production for Hall to flex her acting ability. It's not a halved attempt at both, it's a full force emotional takeover as we watch the slowly growing effects of the absence of her partner in her life. I was rattled and terrified as we moved through the story with her, slowly believing that what's happening is a direct tie to her husband's death. I believe Hall's character, losing herself to a point where reality at home, especially alone, questionably becomes unfamiliar.
You don't need gore in a psychological horror set at home. Under the dreadful moonlight it's atmospheric tension that gets the blood boiling as you wonder "What is this entity haunting Beth, and leaving bloody footprints?", and "Is she responsible for self sabotage, or is this something more malevolent?" It's frightful and unlike any horror you've seen.
Beth works as a school teacher majorly keeping to herself while she's on screen. Sarah Goldberg is Claire, a close friend of Beth's, and Vondie Curtis-Hall is Mel, a friend of Beth's late husband, Owen. While Claire portrays a skeptical but comforting friend, her role in the story isn't fully realized until the end. As Mel, Curtis-Hall was friends with Owen and kept secrets with him, but they don't remain hidden for long following Beth's inquisitive nature. We're following a character determined to uncover whatever can explain the irrational surrounding her husband's death.
Audiences are going to experience intense emotion from Hall's performance. While still coming to terms with her husband's death, she leaves the characters' jaws dropped with how casually she'll bring up the details in conversation. It's a unique scenario and one that immediately grabs you. It will be impossible to look away.
About the scares, and there are plenty, it's a necessary evil to expect some cheap ones. "The Night House" makes effective use of jump scares, and the entire nighttime sequences pair for an all around nerve racking experience.
This movie works firsthand for any horror fan, but it's especially up your alley if you want new characters in your horror flicks. In this case, the story of a woman going through her grief and rising confusion as the nights in her house becomes more and more ominous.
"The Night House" entered theaters August 20, 2021. You can follow me on Twitter for more movie fun @JSYKnowa, and let me know what points I missed about "The Night House".
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