I am a sucker for a good story of secrets, lies and the paranormal. A good ghost story is one that can make you question your sanity and push the limits on what is possible. Exploring the confines of the real and blending that with grief is a powerful way to tell a story. The Night House, the new horror flick from Fox Searchlight hits almost all the right beats, but while it may not fully hit on all fronts, it is an enjoyable and haunting film.
Beth (Rebecca Hall) is facing the reality of life without her husband after he inexplicably killed himself. She is a woman haunted by grief, and simply trying to survive with the new life she never asked for. As she sorts though the fragments of the past in the form of photos and belongings, she uncovers secrets she never knew her husband had.
From a secret other house to dark dreams and haunting memories, The Night House quickly pushes Beth to her breaking point and makes her question her sanity. Director David Bruckner, known for The Ritual and Southbound brings a restrained tone to the potential chaos, giving a slow methodical descent into madness and mystery, bringing the script to life in a dark and dreamlike way.
While it is not a perfect film, with many twists and elements not working as well as they could, Hall brings the character to life, making even the heartbreaking moments captivating to watch. While the movie could have been a dower slog to sit through, her unique darkly comedic timing and sass makes her feel like the darkly sardonic friend we all know and love.
“The Night House works as an exploration of loss, grief and finding one’s way after tragedy.”
As the film progresses, and Rebecca Hall’s Beth tries to uncover more truths about her late husband, her friend Clair (Sarah Goldberg) pushes back, and makes Hall—and the audience—question reality. What is really going on? Is it truly supernatural, or is there something more grounded at play?
Even the relationship between Beth and Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) works at crafting a sense of what has been lost, and how little she really knew about her husband. While they don’t share much screen time, and Owen is never explored enough to make him come into complete focus, it gives enough for the audience to be invested and want to know more about this couple and how they found themselves where they are.
The Night House works as an exploration of loss, grief and finding one’s way after tragedy. It gives just enough away to make any possible reality seem horrific in its own way. Whether there are dark spirits haunting this couple, or the spectre of a more human evil at the heart of the film is left for the audience to decide.
Despite its flaws, The Night House is a film that will get under your skin and stick with you as you try and piece together the truth hidden under the surface. Horror fans should not miss this one, just be prepared to give it a second viewing to catch all the clues to the reality Beth suffers.