A mystery box of a horror this is impressive work from director David Bruckner (his previous work, The Ritual, is one of the great underseen gems of the last five years) holds up as one of the more compellingly constructed horrors in recent years. And this is a film meticulously constructed, from the movements of the narrative to the performances (Hall is exceptional here and is ably supported with tend work from Sarah Goldberg and Vondie Curtis-Hall) to the nightmarish images that invade sequences of The Night House. One of the real stars of the film is the aforementioned abode, and hats off to Production Designer Kathrin Eder, whose work properly stand outs here.
If there is an issue with The Night House it’s that this very impressive construction diminishes the emotional impact of a story that should be drenched in it. Hall’s performance means that audiences will feel a powerful resonance in this story, but it perhaps fades in the second half as the mystery begins to be opened out for audiences. And as this puzzle box opens up you realise that, for all the depth of individual moments, this is perhaps a film that isn’t as clever as it thinks it is.
You will know if The Night House is for you when I say it shares thematic threads with the likes of Hereditary, The Babadook and Lake Mungo. There is much to admire here, with a lead performance from Hall that just about manages to break free of the constructions of the movie, whilst on a technical level this shows what a talent Bruckner is (and it is easy to see why he is likely to take on the Hellraiser franchise next). This is a building worth visiting, even if perhaps there are a few flaws in the architecture.