When her husband suddenly passes away, a woman isolates herself inside their lake house while she deals with his loss — and a disturbing presence. Starring Rebecca Hall, The Night House poses as a haunting metaphor for grief alongside horrors that go beyond the expected.
With her husband’s recent death, Beth (Hall) masks her pain in booze, work, and dismissing concerns by those close to her. She feels his absence most at night; as she reminisces on old memories. Soon she begins to experience unexplained things within the home. A knock here and there. A radio turning on by itself. And strange texts, supposedly from her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit).
Believing he is reaching out to her, Beth begins digging through his things to make sense of his death and if it’s truly him. Despite her best friend urging her not to go down that path, Beth will uncover a tangled mystery that she could have never prepared for. And one that will test her in her weakest moment.
Directed by David Bruckner, The Night House is an intense psychological horror that tells a story so captivating and unpredictable — it’s easily one of the best this year.
It doesn’t hold back in delivering tense sequences and effective scares. Most inventive were how it plays tricks on the eye, with frights built into the home itself. But it goes beyond terror, as it’s essentially a representation of the stages of grief. To which Hall expertly navigates with a powerful performance.
As a viewer, you somewhat mimic those emotional waves, empathizing with the main character along the way as we learn more about her history, her marriage, and dark findings. The film discloses information in a well-paced and methodical fashion, which keeps you enthralled in the mystery. And when it all unravels, the double meanings and metaphors pack an even bigger punch.
It’s a film that flips the standard haunted house trope, focusing on one character’s journey through unimaginable trauma. It certainly brings the tension, including moments that’ll have you sinking into your seat. But it also beautifully combines its chilling atmosphere with a deeply affecting narrative to create a multifaceted haunt.
The Night House is in theaters August 20
Recommended: Director David Bruckner’s previous film, The Ritual.