By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
From director David Bruckner (The Signal) comes a mostly captivating and utterly unnerving horror film that ultimately disappoints when it fails to stick the landing. Starring Rebecca Hall, the movie has an amazing, relatable set-up, and has uses a lot of fascinating concepts, but the imagination and creativity that creates te world gets squandered at the end when the film struggles to use them well. The Night House can also boast an impecable performance by Hall, but unfortunately, I feel her immense talent gets squandered with this movie.
Hall stars as Beth, a high school teacher mourning the untimely death of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). Now though Beth has had her struggles with depression, Owen has always been a supportive rock of a husband, always helping her cope with her problems. Seemingly out of the blue, Owen commits suicide, leaving Beth devastated and also bewildered, considering that he had never previous shown any signs of any e mental distress. As Beth attempts to cope with her loss and grief, some bizarre and unexplainable events start taking pla ce in her home, making her consider the fact that there may be an afterlife, and her late husby and might be trying to reach out to her. Beth, in her desperation for the truth, tries to utilize these dreamlike events to uncover the truth besthind her husband’s tragedy. f
Written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, David Buckner’s new movie left me so frustrated and annoyed that I feel that all of the impressive set-up work in the film’s previous acts nearly fall apart when it comes to the movie’s big reveal. My mind literally screamed, “OH COME ON!” when the story gets to the reveal and climax. I was pretty much out of the film at that point and didnt have as much of a stake as I had just a few minutes prior to those moments. As I previously stated, the filmmakers had a lot of great concepts and ideas, but didn’t completely think them through. Once all gets revealed, the overall picture just doesn’t work completely. It raises questions, never offers proper answers, and not in a skillfully mysterious way. This isn’t a movie that is intended to make its audience ponder the possibilities, but one that shows a lack of realization on the part of the filmmakers.
As I also stated above, Rebecca Hall gives another wonderful performance here. Her sardonic wit, her sometimes, nearly deadpan style shows a different type of protagonist who utiilizes a passive-aggressive approach to coping with the recent tragedy in her life. Her interpretation of this character adds to the dark humor of the movie, making it much more entertaining. The best analogy I can think of is to imagine if the Mike Judge character Daria is in this situation and faced with these bizarre circumstances. The movie also features solid work by Sarah Goldberg (HBO’s Barry), Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Stacy Martin.
If one can handle a disappointment of a movie with some impressive aesthetics, wasted concepts, and a great Rebecca Hall performance, perhaps The Night House will be your jam. It obviously is not the movie I had hoped it would be.