A couple of horror movies highlighted the new releases today. The first one I saw was an original featuring Rebecca Hall, called The Night House, which takes another look at the horror trope of the haunted house and puts a brand new spin on it.
Beth (Rebecca Hall) was a teacher who had just suffered a terrible loss in her life. Her beloved husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) killed himself in a rowboat just near their lakeside home. The unexpected suicide knocked Beth for a loop and sent her into an obsession to discover why he did what he did. What she found was both disturbing and frightening as she learned that Owen had a few secrets of his own.
Rebecca Hall carried much of this movie with her excellent work. She had to show that she was desperately trying to make sense of her husband’s suicide, comparing the facts that she was discovering with what she knew about him. The film is extremely dark and does engage a series of themes involving the afterlife or lack thereof that is fascinating and Hall is awesome at portraying the uncertainty and the confusion that all of this builds.
The story is surprisingly complex and has some really creepy moments involved. Hall seems to be losing her mind as she learns more about her husband’s dark choices.
I really liked this movie with one major exception and it is going to require a SPOILER to discuss. In the third act of the movie, Beth discovered what she thinks is the ghost of her husband and she embraces him, rubbing her hands across his invisible body and this looks just silly as hell. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud at this image. Thankfully, it is not too long before she realizes that this is not Owen but the dark force that has been following her since she nearly died as a younger girl. After that, the movie picks back up, but that invisible hugging was a definite lowlight. END OF SPOILER.
There are some wonderful imagery and the director, David Bruckner, provide some cool shots of the film. He does a great job of keeping the mystery of what this creature is for the whole film and we see shadows used to imply what is here.
The Night House is a solid horror movie with some good theme and lovely looking shots that is only momentarily dragged down by one of the sillier scenes of the year.