The Night House: a deeply disturbing evening at the cinema

REVIEW: The Night House (15), (107 mins), Cineworld Cinemas.

The Night House
The Night House

You won’t spend many 107 minutes in the cinema as unsettling and disturbing as those that make up The Night House – which is, of course, the best possible compliment you can pay the film.

As supernatural chillers go, this one – in a crowded field – is a class above.

There have been endless films where unexpected truths start to emerge about a suddenly, unexpectedly dead partner, but The Night House, gripping and unnerving throughout, takes it all to the next level.

OK, there are things about the ending that might make you think “Eh?” and it certainly stretches plausibility in a film which doesn’t bother too much with plausibility anyway.

But there’s no doubting the shocks along the way in a film which is certainly horrible but equally difficult not to look at.

The gist is that Rebecca Hall is Beth, a woman seemingly happily married, but whose architect husband has just inexplicably taken himself off to the middle of a lake and killed himself, leaving a rather unhelpful, completely baffling suicide note.

Returning from his funeral, Beth, however, soon starts to feel that he hasn’t really left. All sorts of things are soon going bump in the night – and this is where the film is at its chilling best, as dream and reality merge and slowly we start to get hints as to what might actually be going on.

Beth discovers her husband had an interest in the occult; that he also had an interest in women who resemble her closely; even more eerily, close by, in the woods, she discovers a half-built house he’d been working on, but one with a reverse floor plan to the one they actually occupied.

Hall gives a superb performance as a woman racked by grief, yet determined to penetrate the dark mystery her husband has left behind – whatever the cost.

Her brilliance allows director David Bruckner to heap up the horror in a way which is always intelligent. We absolutely aren’t in mindless slasher-movie territory here.

The result is a film which will have you perched on the edge of your seat when you aren’t actually leaping out of it – and, even better, a film that you will find yourself thinking about long, long afterwards.