Review: 'The Night House' scares up dreadful things
“The Night House” is a new release starring Rebecca Hall as a grieving widow who discovers her late husband who died unexpectedly had kept mysterious secrets from her that she begins to unravel in the psychological horror film playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.
BAXTER — Just how well do you really know someone you love?
That provocative question is the central conceit of “The Night House,” a moody, atmospheric horror film that eschews the visceral bloodshed and gore of slasher films for the slow burn of psychological terror.
A widow discovers her husband who died suddenly at their lake home he built had kept dark and disturbing secrets from her in the new release playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.
The school teacher is inconsolable in her depression despite the support of her coworkers, neighbors and friends, and instead turns to the bottle, which only makes things worse.
Beth comes across one day her husband’s blueprints for another home with a mirror image along with mysterious photos in his iPhone of women that look like her but who are not her.
Thoughts race through her mind as to what it could all mean and the more she rummages through his possessions, the more questions she has about the man she thought she knew.
Actress Rebecca Hall portrays Beth as an intelligent and sympathetic character, a woman not prone to histrionics, which makes her slow descent into apparent madness tragic.
Beth’s obsession with her husband’s death may cause her own if she isn’t careful as she makes inquiries into the latter’s former activities, especially the unfinished house and the other women.
The suspenseful and creepy film ratchets up the tension in increments that some horror fans may balk at, but the deliberate pacing of “The Night House” refreshingly does not resort to jump scares to elicit thrills from viewers more accustomed to blood splatter and dismemberment.
Hall should be a familiar face to moviegoers even if her name is not a household name. The award-winning actress’ past acting credits include “The Prestige” from Christopher Nolan, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” from Woody Allen and “The Town” from Ben Affleck.
“The Night House” is a character study into a grieving widow’s possible descent into madness. And in the film distributed by Searchlight Pictures, Hall is given a pivotal role in which — much like the protagonist in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” — she commands the screen.
“The Night House” is helmed by David Bruckner, who has relatively few directing credits to his name, but has directed other movies in the horror genre such as “The Ritual” and “Southbound.”
The critics’ consensus at RottenTomatoes.com: “Led by Rebecca Hall's gripping central performance, ‘The Night House’ offers atmospheric horror that engages intellectually as well as emotionally.”
FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bdfilmforum .