The Night House, or: Deck the Hall

Get out of the house.

Here on the blog we’re rather partial to a Rebecca Hall moment. She’s appeared periodically throughout the collaboration for years and even displayed impressive Director credits in last week’s pick. She’s no less wonderful in this atmospheric lament on grief as recently widowed Beth, who’s starting to think she might not have known her late husband as well as she thought.

Yikes.

Film: The Night House (2020)

“A widow begins to uncover her recently deceased husband’s disturbing secrets.”

Director: David Bruckner
Stars: Rebecca HallSarah GoldbergVondie Curtis-Hall

*Spoilers*

Beth is slowly returning to ordinary life after the sudden suicide of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). It’s tough going though as reminders of him are everywhere, not least in the remote (and bloody beautiful) lake house he built them from scratch.

Shortly after his funeral, Beth starts to experience weird goings on around the home – record players turning themselves on, open gates and wet footprints – and she surmises that maybe Owen’s still around, somehow. While she’s dealing with potential supernatural shit, Beth is also trying to process why Owen did what he did and this isn’t helped by the cryptic note he left behind. In it, he tells her she was right – and she assumes he means about there being no afterlife.

As Beth does more digging to make sense of these horrific events, she uncovers some unsavoury truths about the man she loved. BFF Claire begs her to let it go for her own sanity but she’s going to pick at that thread come what may – and boy is she unprepared for the full waking nightmare of a story.

With Beth’s dreams becoming more and more vivid – and real – she hurtles towards a conclusion that will blow everything she knows about her life and whatever comes afterwards out of the water forever.

Thoughts

I don’t have to start with a compliment about Rebecca Hall’s performance but I’m going to anyway. There’s just something about her. She’s one of the best actresses working today and she’s somehow underrated, which is just crackers. As Beth she’s cold and guarded, and who can fucking blame her? This woman is just trying to adjust to her new life – and she has to deal with ghosts AND a buttload of shady secrets?

I respect her for being who she is – and for the relentless way in which she takes on Owen’s post-humous bullshit. I love when civilians turn amateur detective and these are the most satisfying parts of the story for me. I also like that despite the ‘advice’ of her friends, she doesn’t just let it lie – it’s not very human to leave a secret half-uncovered – wouldn’t we all do the same as Beth?

The visuals are very good – the house itself is designed in such a way to fuck with perspective and there are some genuinely chilling moments. There’s one blink and you’ll miss it frame that chills me to the bone. In some ways the pay off at the end isn’t all that but the build up is dramatic enough to keep you interested.

Not bad by any means but if you want truly haunting, may I recommend RH vehicle The Awakening from 2011? That shit is spooky dooky.

My Rating: 3.5/5


What does Jill think of Beth’s antics? Would she build this film its own lake house or retire it to a dark, dank bunker in the woods? Find out here.

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