Ever been afraid of something going bump in the night? We've all been there. Waking up in the middle of the night scared of what could be lurking in the dark corners of the room or worse, a pile of clothes on a chair taking the shape of a human, striking fear into you for a brief moment. Our mind can play devious tricks on us and The Night House is a thriller that hones in on that to deliver one hell of a tense cinematic experience.

Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best as she can to keep it together—but then the dreams come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house call to her, beckoning with a ghostly allure, but the harsh light of day washes away any proof of a haunting. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into his belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and terrible and a mystery she is determined to resolve.

The Night House is most definitely a film best experienced without knowing anything about before heading into the cinema. It's a mystery-box of a thriller that holds the audience in its vice like grip from start to finish, Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski writing a dark web of deceit and secrets that unravel in such fascinating fashion. David Bruckner excels at creating such intense sequences, particularly within the house as Beth questions her own mind playing tricks on her with shapes forming and noises coming from every nook and cranny. The sound design is a major player in making you squirm in your seat too and Ben Lovett's score is perfectly haunting.

It's a film that builds layers upon layers so methodically that I felt it getting into my head properly at times. The last film to really get under my skin or in my head as much was probably Hereditary so The Night House was certainly doing something right throughout. It's a really great film from a visual aspect as well, Elisha Christian's cinematography working a treat around the house that begins to feel more like a character as the film grows, the use of deep reds towards the end particularly standing out as a sign of Beth's journey of grief and discovery coming to an end.
Front and centre of the piece is a terrific lead performance from Rebecca Hall, an actress who has done so much supporting work over the years that it's about time she was the lead in many more films. Considering she spends a lot of the film by herself it's a true testament to her performance that she ensures the film remains an engaging experience throughout. It could come across as stupid when an actress is standing in an empty room by herself talking out loud but Hall just makes you believe every single ounce of her performance, making it another strong female lead performance in a horror that will undoubtedly go unnoticed when honouring actors for their work come awards season.

The final act strays a little from the fascinating setup however, it certainly provides the film with a satisfying conclusion. The Night House finally sees the light of day after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and I couldn't recommend this psychological horror enough, especially if you are a fan of films that properly mess with your head.



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