Berkreviews The Night House (2021)

The Night House (2021) is going to divide audiences by the end of the film depending solely on each individual’s read on what they just watched. Director David Bruckner and writers Luke Piotrowski and Ben Collins’s intriguing premise and story, along with Rebecca Hall giving an outstanding performance, have crafted a film that will linger in the minds of their audience for days. In some of those individuals, these lingering thoughts will bring joy and excitement as they continue to peel back layers of possible meaning from this psychological -and, perhaps – metaphorical film. Others will wonder if it is possible to get their money back. Fortunately for me, I’m a part of the former. 

Beth’s (Hall) husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) has unexpectedly died, and she is trying to reckon with the loss. Alone now in the house that Owen literally designed and built, Beth can’t shake the feeling that she isn’t actually alone. She begins looking into his life and begins to uncover his disturbing secrets.

Bruckner is able to craft some incredible moments that really bring tension and terror. I won’t go into too much detail on how the plot unfolds, as things are revealed quite intentionally. However, early on, the reality of what we witness is called into question. What is Beth going through, and is she taking care of herself? The loss of Owen is clearly creating conflicting emotions within her. The exploration of this side of grief is compelling and is only heightened by Hall’s incredible performance. 

I also really appreciated the sound design in this movie. There are several little sounds and music choices utilized to effectively create tension, and truly elevate numerous moments in an impactful way. There are also several visuals that add intrigue and help sell the themes the movie is exploring through the genre. The Night House will get compared to The Babadook and Hereditary, but I think it is also doing its own thing. Like those films, though, the interpretation of the audience is definitely going to impact their enjoyment of this film. The many potential takes I think are possible for this film could also have troubling implications that I haven’t fully parsed quite yet. 

I found The Night House to be a relatively enjoyable horror film experience that ended in a way that made me pause and sit through the credits. My friend asked me while we sat there if I thought there would be a post-credit scene, but I was simply there trying to wrap my head around whether I liked this or not. As I worked out my initial read on the film, I found myself growing to love the movie. Days later, when I’m finally writing this, I feel justified in my enjoyment of The Night House, and it earns the Must See rating.

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