New horror movie The Night House follows wife and schoolteacher Beth, who is devastated when her architect husband Owen takes his own life with a handgun while sitting in a rowing boat close to the lake house he built for them.
Beside his body is a cryptic handwritten note: “You were right. There is nothing. Nothing is after you. You’re safe now.”
Copious glasses of alcohol numb Beth’s grief, causing concern for friend and work colleague Claire and neighbour Mel.
But during her fitful sleeping hours, Beth experiences strange visions that suggest she could be losing her mind in the midst of despair.
Or perhaps, there is a ghostly presence in the home, trying to make contact from an astral plane?
It’s a delightful creepy concept, one that’s only emboldened by a frightful trailer that sets expectations high for a pre-Halloween fright-fest.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
Who stars in it?
Star of the film is London-born actress Rebecca Hall as Beth.
The Prestige star has been in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years after making her on-screen debut in the TV adaptation of The Camomile Lawn at the age of 10 in 1992.
Hall was previously nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Vicky in the romantic comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and has also appeared in The Awakening, Iron Man 3 and, most recently, in Godzilla vs. Kong.
She also received praise for her portrayal of reporter Christine Chubbuck in the biographical drama Christine.
Alongside Hall are Sarah Goldberg (The Dark Knight Rises) as friend and work colleague Claire and Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac) as Madelyne.
Also on the cast are Evan Jonigkeit (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as deceased husband Owen, and Vondie Curtis-Hall (Romeo + Juliet) as neighbour Mel.
Is it a true story?
The Night House has no basis in fact, and makes use of an original script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski.
But despite not being based on a true story, director David Brucker says viewers should expect some very real, relatable feelings.
Discussing how the film’s exploration of loneliness and grief might resonate, Bruckner said: “People have been in their houses for a year, I don’t know how much that will have an effect on what’s happening, necessarily. But I do think that grief really is a keyword.
“I think we all felt a collective grief when the world shut down, not just about our own fears and anxieties about what was going to happen, but I think we got a glimpse of society lost, what it would mean if our shared collaboration broke down in some way, and I do think there was a sense of loss to that.
Is it any good?
At the time of writing, the film holds an approval rating of 87 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, who say The Night House “offers atmospheric horror that engages intellectually as well as emotionally.”
The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee said “there are enough crafty surprises buried within The Night House to just about outweigh the elements that don't work quite as well, mainly because it's all delivered with such fiery conviction by Hall.”
Michael O'Sullivan from the Washington Post called it “haunting” in the truest sense of the word, while Leslie Felperin of the Financial Times praised Halls’ performance, saying she ”colours in the character with every line reading and eyebrow flicker, so deeply present in each moment she barely needs co-stars.”
Not all critics have been so kind though, with AV Club’s A.A. Down saying the script is “clunky-in the convoluted nature of its reveals and also in the sometimes-baffling behaviour on display.”
When can I watch it?
The film was originally made in 2019 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 but further releases were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was scheduled to be released on 16 July 2021, but further complications arising from the ongoing pandemic pushed that date back by just over a month.
The Night House is released in UK cinemas on August 20.
Can I watch it on streaming?
At the time of writing, no plans have been announced for the film to be available through streaming services.
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