Directed confidently by David Bruckner from a clever screenplay written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, “The Night House” excels at creating tension – it’s both unpredictable and disconcertingly restrained. In other words, you are rarely comfortable for 110 minutes.
The movie rocks you at first, however, as we join Beth on what is likely her first night alone in the house. She drinks, she plays music, she watches their wedding video and passes out. It’s quite touching for someone we just met. But she and we were awakened by a knock on the downstairs door. Then there are a few other even more aggressive hits.
Windows are everywhere in this quaint house, and anxiety increases as Beth struggles to see through them into the pitch black night. She is scared but not paralyzed and daring enough to walk around unarmed, turn on the lights, and open the doors to the outside. Has she never seen a horror movie or just doesn’t know she’s playing one yet? Whatever the reason, it is effective.
The filmmakers and script carefully toss little breadcrumbs along the way as Beth and we try to figure out what’s going on: a cryptic suicide note, a set of disturbing shots, a photo of a woman who almost looks like exactly to Beth.
Fears are scary but not really threatening at first, and there is even a small ray of hope in the haunting: the presence of your deceased husband may not be the worst thing in the world during this time of lonely mourning. , is not it ? There’s also quite a bit of doubt and skepticism that builds up: Beth is so often drunk when things start to get weird, you wonder if she’s even a reliable goal.