Movie Review: “The Night House”

Jake Heelein (TheLorian)

As we enter into the spookiest month of the year, it is likely you’re looking for films that will help you celebrate the season of scariness. And what better way to do that than with horror!

“The Night House” is a recent horror film, opening on Aug. 20, 2021. While it went mostly unnoticed by moviegoers, it was critically well-received, earning an 87 percent on the popular film review website, Rotten Tomatoes. With that said, should we let the film be forgotten amongst the onslaught of horror released every year, or is it worth audiences revisiting and remembering? Let’s talk about it!

The plot of this film is standard; a widow mourns the loss of her recently deceased husband. But what the film does with this overused plot is, quite frankly, remarkable. There are original ideas that play with genre and our audience’s expectations of what horror is supposed to be. As a result, we are exposed to a film that shocks, disturbs, and makes the viewer think about mortality. 

This is a career-defining performance by the star, Rebecca Hall. Throughout her career, she has regularly been featured in major blockbuster hits (this year’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” and 2013’s “Iron Man 3”), but if you’re like me, you may not have ever noticed her roles specifically. With “The Night House,” that instantly changes. This is not only one of the best performances of her career, but one of the best all year. The entirety of this movie rests on her shoulders, and there is not a moment that she lets it falter. If you haven’t recognized her name before now, you will after seeing this film.

This film is a slow burn, but it is with great intentionality that it moves at its pace. The most impressive thing that a horror film can accomplish is making you dread the moments in which you know you’ll experience fear. “The Night House” not only does this but actively makes you want to stay in the safety of the light. With that in mind, if you love jump scares and base your horror satisfaction entirely on how frequently they’re included, this film will not be for you. But if your horror satisfaction comes from feeling unsettled throughout your viewing experience, give “The Night House” a watch. Despite a lack of jump scares, you shouldn’t get the impression that this film will not have moments that stick with you. Even two months after my first viewing of this film, there are moments that have stuck distinctly in my mind. And that’s not even mentioning the ending that will have you analyzing the movie for weeks afterward.

This is without a doubt one of the strongest films released this year. With that said, it is worth noting that not everyone is going to love this film. The slowness that made me adore “The Night House” will be the exact reason why another viewer hates it.  =But what everyone should at least be able to understand and appreciate is that the film is taking swings that rarely (if ever) get taken. If you’re tired of seeing the same 10 films every year, congratulations, “The Night House,” is a rare 11th.

Final Score- 4.75/5

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