By: Amanda Guarragi
The Night House is one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. The horror genre is filled with many different stories, but I tend to gravitate towards psychological horrors the most. When structuring a psychological horror, the atmosphere is one of the most important things to focus on. And that is exactly what director David Bruckner did. The story begins with widow attempting to uncover her recently deceased husband’s disturbing secrets. As Beth (Rebecca Hall) spirals into the depths of her own mind with the memory of her husband, the audience goes with her.
As the story slowly unfolds, the supernatural elements fit in quite nicely, and don’t seem out of place. We understand the connectivity to the afterlife when a loved one has past. The veil is thin and their spirit can flow in and out of the area they once lived in whenever they please. Beth left her heart and mind open for her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) to enter, so she wouldn’t be alone in the house. This script is probably one of my favourites of the year because of how layered and complex the story becomes.
As Beth uncovers the truth about Owen, her own demons bubble to the top and she slowly begins to lose herself. As Beth goes deeper into the root of Owen’s death and his secret life, she contemplates her entire life with him. There are some incredibly powerful visuals that make the third act twist quite powerful. The darkness of Beth’s mind completely consumes her and we find out more about her past. This is one of the best horror films of the year and it’s because of the subtle silence that filled the air at the right moments to enhance the scare. The set up of certain scenes and the darkness surrounding Beth really made an impact.
The Night House is very well-written, even though the third act twist may have been taken a bit too far. We see the fragmented pieces of Beth’s mind, through a fantastic performance from Rebecca Hall. It is dark, twisted, and one of the most interesting films that you will watch this year. Bruckner presented depression in a mental and physical form, which created haunting moments for our lead character. From the score, to the cinematography, and the strong direction, this film has left a lasting impression on me.