The Night House Movie Review

“The Night House” is a captivating and unsettling ghost story that takes viewers on a haunting journey of grief, anger, and unimaginable truths. 

Anchored by the exceptional performance of Rebecca Hall, the film’s old-fashioned approach and masterful craftsmanship make it one of the standout genre films of 2021. 

Directed by David Bruckner, known for “The Ritual,” the movie skillfully immerses audiences in an atmosphere of unease from the opening frame until its chilling conclusion. With its top-notch sound design and captivating plot, “The Night House” is a must-see for horror enthusiasts.

Beth’s Grief and Unraveling Secrets

Rebecca Hall delivers a remarkable performance as Beth, a woman struck by the sudden and devastating loss of her husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). Consumed by grief and anger, Beth finds herself unraveling the mysteries surrounding Owen’s death. 

As she starts unpacking their belongings at their lake house, she discovers unsettling possessions, including books about the occult and dark arts, with notes left by her deceased husband. This revelation raises questions about what Owen was involved in and adds a layer of intrigue to the story.

Beth’s Nightmares and Mysterious Revelations

Alongside her grief, Beth experiences intensifying nightmares that seem to guide her through the lake house and lead her to unsettling places. These nightmares bring her to a mirror house across the lake and reveal the darkest secrets Owen kept hidden. 

Rebecca Hall deftly portrays Beth’s emotional journey, capturing the complex mix of anger, grief, and confusion that arises when a loved one dies by suicide. Hall’s performance is reminiscent of other powerful portrayals in the genre, such as Nicole Kidman in “The Others” and Toni Collette in “Hereditary.” Her commitment to the character’s emotional depth elevates the film’s impact.

The Script’s Blend of Investigation and Survival

“The Night House” presents Beth not only as a survivor but also as an investigator. The script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski cleverly explores the aftermath of suicide and the natural inclination to seek answers and uncover hidden truths. 

Beth’s quest to unravel Owen’s secrets takes her on a twisted journey that constantly shifts the shape of the story. Initially, it appears to be a straightforward tale of a widow discovering her husband’s secret life, but it evolves into something much more complex. 

The script’s exploration of dark secrets and the ever-changing revelations keeps audiences engaged throughout the film.

An Uncertain and Unsettling Experience

One of the film’s strengths lies in its ability to keep viewers uncertain and on edge. “The Night House” works best when it embraces the inexplicable and blurs the lines between reality and dreams. 

Director David Bruckner and Rebecca Hall masterfully convey the sense of unease and uncertainty that permeates the narrative. The eerie sounds in the night, mysterious footprints on an empty dock, and haunting messages in the fog on a shower mirror all contribute to the film’s atmospheric brilliance. 

Bruckner and Hall understand that true horror resides in the realm of uncertainty, making “The Night House” a chilling and unforgettable experience.

The Plot’s Ambiguity

While “The Night House” excels in generating fear through ambiguity, the final revelations of the film may leave some viewers wanting clearer connections. 

The complex nature of the plot, with multiple layers and shifting revelations, can make it challenging to fully grasp the story’s coherence. However, this ambiguity is not necessarily a flaw in a ghost story. The presence of gray areas and unconnected dots adds to the intrigue and mystery, leaving room for interpretation and discussion.

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“The Night House” is an exceptional ghost story that effectively combines elements of grief, mystery, and supernatural horror. Rebecca Hall’s outstanding performance, supported by David Bruckner’s precise direction, creates an atmosphere of unease that lingers long after the credits roll. 

The film’s ability to unsettle viewers through uncertainty and its masterful use of sound design make it a must-see for horror enthusiasts. 

While some plot elements may be difficult to unpack, “The Night House” remains a captivating and haunting cinematic experience that showcases the best of the genre.

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