The Night House
Following in our theme of haunted houses this week, we finally got the chance to check out the much anticipated film THE NIGHT HOUSE and I can honestly say that I'm ashamed at how long it took for me to see this, because jeeze... this is psychological horror in every sense of the term. You know how every once in a while you'll watch a mindfuck movie that you really enjoyed while watching... and then six hours later, you can't stop thinking about it? Welcome to The Night House, directed by David Bruckner and written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski. Every year we get a small handful of films like this one and honestly, this movie might have taken the crown for me in terms of true, psychological thrill; the sequences that play out in the movies hour and forty seven minute runtime is addicting, leaving you on edge while impatiently awaiting the next few moments... and this goes on for the entire movie. The writing was brilliant, the acting was brilliant, the soundtrack was brilliant, the cinematography was brilliant; I hate to sound too overreactive but this movie just kills it on every level and left me so shook and uneasy for hours after, and that's a good subtle sign the film did its job. No jump or cheap scares here... the real horror is all in our heads... or is it? Take my recommendation - please - and give this flick a try one quiet night when you're alone in the dark. It'll make your head hurt.
The Night House kicks off putting you right in the heart of tragedy. Beth (phenomenally played by Rebecca Hall) is returning to her home where her husband recently took their boat out into the lake behind their house and shot himself in the head, leaving behind an ominous and seemingly impersonal suicide note. As she tries to settle back into the house without him there, things get a little uneasy as she begins to experience things that seem... ghostly. Strange paranormal activity begins to occur around her each night... or does it? As she begins to investigate her husband Oven's (Evan Jonigkeit) private life, she begins to uncover secrets he kept from her that she had zero idea about. Photos, people, weapons... and a house on the other side of the lake. A house built identical to the house Owen built for her... except it is literally an inverted version. As Owen continues to visit Beth and send her on the edge of an emotional breakdown, Beth must face her demons and fight to overcome them, for her life depends on it. Can Beth beat the demons from her past and return to a normal life? Or will the secrets she uncovers about her husband drive her too far over the edge? Find out in... THE NIGHT HOUSE!
If psychological horrors are not your thing, then I get it - you are not gonna like this. But I honestly feel like anyone who watches this and hates it just didn't get it - because I don't know how you could possibly hate this movie after letting it wash over you like a wave over the sand. It's a dark, slippery slope of a film that just sends the viewer so many mixed signals and lets you really kinda decide what you think you're seeing. The film's ending could definitely be perceived a few different ways, but after throwing around a couple ideas I definitely think I have what it is Bruckner is trying to portray and it's more than worth the trip. And even if you fucking despise the films story, there is no denying that the films incredible use of negative space to bring it's antagonist to life is nothing short of exceptional. From the way the hallways of the house twist and morph into these horrifying scenes Beth has to navigate to the devilish character hidden in plain sight, The Night House brings all of this to life in such an unbelievable way. And much of the awesomeness of this film comes from Hall and her performance of Beth; she knocks it right out of the park when it comes to bringing Beth's pain, misery, confusion, unrest and mental torture to life. You can see it plainly on Hall's face and in her empty yet emotionless eyes literally from the first time you see her til the very last scene. Beth's descent into madness is torturing her, and Hall manages to flawlessly capture this while still trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle her husband left behind for her to clean up.
I think part of what makes this movie so fucking fun is how much it drains you. There's just this overwhelming feeling of dread that lingers throughout much of the movie and by the time the credits roll, you may not realize it but watching everything unfold on Beth really does take a piece out of you. Beth has a secret backstory that ties all of the chaos together and tries to make sense of it all, and it's incredible how that one little piece of the puzzle really can throw the the viewers minds all over the place without it. And if movies like this are your style, I'm sure you'll find yourself very pleasantly surprised by The Night House. I'm trying to subtle as to not give too much away, since this film relies on it being told the way it does to really bring out the dread in you, but allow me to just leave you with this... if you want true, emotional and mindfucky horror this weekend, give The Night House a chance to ruin your night... in a good way. It will leave you questioning what's real and what's in our heads and what's in Beth's head... and that's an awesome way to leave your audience.