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‘The Night House’ Review—An Intriguing Thriller

No spoilers!

By Jonathan SimPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

This year has not been a strong year for horror films. We’ve had one gem named A Quiet Place Part II (and maybe Army of the Dead), but everything else has ranged from mediocre to absolutely awful. Fortunately, I think we now have two gems.

David Bruckner directs The Night House, a psychological horror film starring Rebecca Hall as Beth, a woman whose husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), recently committed suicide. As she grieves his death, she begins to suspect a presence looming over her home, beginning to wonder about Owen’s secrets and whether he is still alive.

At first glance, this seems like a rip-off of The Invisible Man, with the first act bearing many similarities to that film. Both films feature traumatized women whose husbands commit suicide, and they begin to believe their husbands are still with them.

But the movie takes the similar premise and takes it in an entirely new direction. As a result, the films are entirely different, and there is much to admire about the film’s narrative and how it may require a few watches to fully grasp all of its deeper meanings.

The Night House is easily one of the most special horror movies of late—this summer, we’ve had many horror disappointments like The Forever Purge, Old, and Don’t Breathe 2. Whether they’re taking the stories in unbelievably absurd directions or relying heavily on jump scares, this movie fixes all of these issues.

It’s refreshing to have a movie not so concerned with making the audience jump out of their seats with loud noises. This movie has a few jump scares, but none of them are cheap. It’s not a movie that has a character bump into another character, accompanied by a harsh jolt of music. Instead, the jump scares in this movie work.

Bruckner does an exceptional job helming this film, relying heavily on the sound and shot choices to build suspense within his scenes. His ability to evoke feelings of confusion, dread, and terror leads to some white-knuckle sequences that may have audiences peering at the screen through their fingers.

Much of the film is based in character. The opening act sets up the protagonist, Beth, in the days following her husband’s suicide. It’s easy for the audience to sympathize with Beth as she grieves, and some scenes may feel incredibly relatable for those who have dealt with these feelings.

After the film spends a good amount of time with the character drama, we are thrown into our mystery, as Beth tries her best to figure out the meaning behind his suicide note and uncovers his secrets. The film takes the story to some dark places, and it’s one of the most riveting pieces of horror this year.

The center of all of this is Rebecca Hall. While glimpses of her talent (and excellent American accent) can be seen in blockbusters such as Iron Man 3 and this year’s Godzilla vs. Kong, her aptitude for acting shines in this movie, as she plays a broken woman trying to understand a horrifying situation. It makes you wonder why she’s also been in films like Holmes & Watson.

Everyone gives a wonderful performance. While the supporting characters don’t particularly stand out, they are all instrumental in Beth’s journey, and they feel like people you may know in real life. The script from Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski is wonderful, even if some may desire more concrete explanations for certain sequences and a bit more added to the ending.

We have creepy imagery laced throughout the film, along with great ideas and terrifying scenes that are actually effective. It’s an intriguing thriller that explores grief in ways that are both grounded and supernatural, and it’s a must-see for horror aficionados.

Grade: ★★★★☆ [8/10, B+]

Jonathan’s Tips: Watch this movie if you want a good horror movie. We don’t get too many original films in theaters these days, so support one that’s not based on an IP.

The Night House is now playing in theaters.

movie review

About the Creator

Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

For business inquiries: [email protected]

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