Monday, August 16, 2021

The Night House Review: Rebecca Hall Shines In This Atmospheric Horror Film

Rebecca Hall	...	Beth Sarah Goldberg	Sarah Goldberg	...	Claire Vondie Curtis-Hall	Vondie Curtis-Hall	...	Mel Evan Jonigkeit	Evan Jonigkeit	...	Owen Stacy Martin	Stacy Martin	...	Madelyne David Abeles	David Abeles	...	Gary Christina Jackson	Christina Jackson	...	Heather Patrick Klein	Patrick Klein	...	Bob Crystal Swann	Crystal Swann	...	Principal Catherine Weidner	Catherine Weidner	...	Teacher Laura Austin	Laura Austin	...	Relative Jacob Garrett White	Jacob Garrett White	...	Clerk Samantha Buck	Samantha Buck	...	Becky Lydia Hand	Lydia Hand	...	Woman in Pink Lea Enslin	Lea Enslin	...	Woman in White Amy Zubieta	Amy Zubieta	...	Woman in Green Allie McCulloch	Allie McCulloch	...	Woman in Red

Release date: August 20, 2021
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by David Bruckner
Screenplay by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski
 Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, and Stacy Martin

Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together – but then nightmares come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing – a mystery she’s determined to unravel.

Amber Anne	...	Bridesmaid / Bar Patron (uncredited) ArthurMk	ArthurMk	...	(uncredited) Michael Flores	Michael Flores	...	Stand-in (uncredited) Michael Harrington	Michael Harrington	...	Teacher (uncredited) Shawn Hopseker	Shawn Hopseker	...	Assistant Principle (uncredited) Jack E. Jones	Jack E. Jones	...	Teacher (uncredited) James W. Meagher	James W. Meagher	...	Teacher (uncredited) Derek M. Puma	Derek M. Puma	...	Bar Patron / Wedding guest (uncredited) Daniel Rayome	Daniel Rayome	...	Teacher (uncredited) Andy Rich	Andy Rich	...	Collaborator (uncredited) Dannielle Rose	Dannielle Rose	...	Teacher (uncredited)
The Night House is exactly the kind of movie I would expect to love, an atmospheric horror movie that progresses slowly and doesn't try to do too much.  The film has a wonderful, unsettling setting and enough scares to keep you on your toes, but ones that slowly build. The setting itself lends so much to this film's atmosphere, as it is set on a somewhat isolated lake house that is quiet during the day and pitch dark at night.  And the film doesn't try to do too much, it just keeps building onto this world with unsettling occurrences and a few extra hints at what is going on.  It is a wonderfully tense film that usually relies on the unknown for scares rather than jumps cares.  Although it does do jumps cares occasionally, the majority of the scares in this film are from atmospheric events rather than pure noise.  

Propelling the film's story relies almost exclusively on Rebecca Hall, who rises to the occasion as you would expect.  Much of the film involves her interacting with a ghostly presence, so the story really does rely on her and her alone.  And she does not disappoint.  Occasionally the world of The Night House will be occupied by others, but for the majority of the film it is a Rebecca Hall show.  And although the film is driven by her (including the scares and tension), The Night House also relies on the great setting to sell the scares.  I loved the house and the late night scenarios that unfolded.  It left the viewer always wondering what would happen next.  And sometimes nothing would happen, leading to a great build up and keeping the viewer on their toes.  And as the film progressed, more of the strange mystery began to unravel.

However, although I did enjoy the Night House a lot, there were some minor issues with it. The most important is the story that just doesn't quite come together.  It had plenty of mysteries and some gruesome, disturbing scenes, but overall I was expecting a more coherent payoff given the genuinely great start of the film.  And the movie explores some concepts that just don't seem fully realized.  Rebecca Hall makes some discoveries that are then not incorporated into the overall story.  And the rules of some of the revelations that occur just do not seem fully fleshed out.  And on top of some of the loose ends, it is still an ultimately unsatisfying ending that seems to end a little too quickly.  

The Night House's unsettling setting and great performance by Rebecca Hall will have you jumping at every creek or reflection, and sleeping with the lights on. 

Watch it.

David Bruckner	...	executive producer François Callens	...	executive producer Ben Collins	...	executive producer Tara Finegan	...	executive music producer David S. Goyer	...	producer (p.g.a.) Keith Levine	...	producer (p.g.a.) Alexander Norton	...	line producer: additional photography George Paaswell	...	executive producer / line producer Jeffrey Penman	...	associate producer Luke Piotrowski	...	executive producer Sébastien Raybaud	...	executive producer David Tracy	...	associate producer Todd Williams	...	consulting producer Laura Wilson	...	executive producer John Zois	...	producer
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The Night House is in theaters on August 20, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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