For me nothing is better when watching a horror film than getting genuine chills. The Night House from director David Bruckner (The Ritual) and writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski (Super Dark Times) delivers these coveted chills in abundance throughout. That alone is enough for me to give high marks to it and recommend it to horror fans and general audiences alike, but there is so much more to appreciate about this film so here we go.
The Night House tells the story of newly widowed Beth (Rebecca Hall) coming to grips with her husbands sudden suicide. Left alone in the lakeside house he built for her, grief starts to set in and with that grief comes instances of weird nightly occurrences which Beth quickly attributes to the the very real possibility of supernatural activity. SO yes on the surface The Night House could be your run of the mill haunted house film, but due to the talent involved, the simple premise is elevated to a masterful exploration of grief and horror.
Where most haunted house films, even some of the best ones can play out by the numbers, The Night House has more in common with the unconventional and emotional core of something like a Silent Hill 2 (the masterpiece of a game not the awful film) The first half in particular really has that off kilter vibe found in the best of the Silent Hill games that is just completely eerie and unsettling. The film’s sound design and score are fantastic and really do take things to a higher level of effectiveness. Rebecca Hall is tasked with carrying the film on her fully capable shoulders and does so turning in one of the most relatable and realistic depictions of grief I have seen this side of Midsommer or Hereditary. The story and the places it goes and ideas it it presents are very interesting, creepy, and refreshing for a “haunted house” film. I won’t get into details as I don’t like to get into spoiler territory. Though I will say I wish we would have gone a little deeper in depth in some of the ideas and lore presented but not fully explored. The film’s scares are all well orchestrated and the unnerving tone Bruckner establishes from the jump rarely let’s up. It is one the better horror films to come out in the past few years and I hope horror fans respond to it the way I did.
The Night House delivers a quality horror tale anchored by Rebecca Hall’s fantastic performance and Bruckner’s understanding of how to build tension and disorienting his audience. I absolutely recommend this film.