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Film Review: “The Night House” (2021)


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The truth can sometimes hurt and even haunt us long after. It is preferable to leave it where it is, move on and never look back. However, there are situations when the question must find its answer. It must reveal the true colors, leaving no more doubts. But what if Pandora’s box opens, and what comes out of it cannot be handled?

Beth (Rebecca Hall) was caught by a shocking surprise when her beloved husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), takes his own life out of the blue. She is certain that he never exhibited signs of depression, and therefore wants to seek an answer to the tragedy share barely can find an explanation for. The only lead Beth has is Owen’s cryptic suicide note: “There is nothing. Nothing is after you. You’re safe now”. The last part becomes more questionable when Beth starts to play with fire, as she embarks on a journey an unprepared individual cannot make out of it safe and sound.

Beth’s best friend, Claire (Sarah Goldberg,) insists on letting the pain go, mourn but move on. Beth acknowledges Claire’s request, however, continues going through Owen’s stuff in their lakehouse. It is when she begins to hear strange noises, music suddenly starts to play, and the voice of a man can be heard, who can be Owen himself, things become goofy. All these scenes are shot with style. Some of them are quite terrifying and it’s all because of Rebecca Hall’s subtle performance. As the storyline continues to unfold, the screenplay written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski allows Hall to juggle with her character, letting her leave her comfort zone, as Beth begins to open up Pandora’s box with a horrific revelation that will leave you surprised too, my dear reader.

Director David Bruckner works well with the original material, grasping it fully, which is noticeable through his direction style. He could have chosen another way but allows the mystery to unfold in its own, leaving the possible clichés aside. And that’s very important when it comes to films like “The Night House”. Because its viewers, especially those that love the horror genre will expect much more than what’s offered by Bruckner. But the director protects himself from temptation and delivers the film with style.

As you have already guessed, I am not in a position to reveal more than I just did. But you can rely on my honest words and let the story play the way it does before your eyes. It’s a clever, different and beautiful film that you will enjoy thoroughly. The last twenty minutes will be gut-wrenching, and that’s because the truth will be too difficult to handle, but too realistic to accept. Owen is a very interesting character who deserves to have a separate film to talk about his true life. But having his backstory played out in the film is quite impactful, and I wish more directors would be brave enough to explore it more.

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