In THE NIGHT HOUSE, a grieving woman suspects something is haunting her, maybe her dead husband, maybe something very sinister. Overall, I liked the execution a lot, though I enjoyed it more for its intriguing possibilities than where the story ended up going.
Beth is grieving the loss of her husband Owen. She appears to be in control, though hollowed out by coping. At night, strange occurrences begin to add up around the lakeside home he built for them. A suggestion of another house, another life. As she explores it, she begins to wonder what exactly is haunting her and what it wants.
Overall, there’s a skillful slow-burn execution to the story; the pacing is slow but doesn’t drag, at least it didn’t for me. The acting is solid, notably Rebecca Hall (whom I liked in THE LOOP) who is well cast as Beth, with a shout-out for Sarah Goldberg (who plays Sally in BARRY). Goldberg’s role is small and one note, essentially the friend who offers a sounding board and somebody for the lonely protagonist to talk to, but she gives the otherwise flat character as much life as she can breathe into it.
As the story builds, the horror element is well done, startling and occasionally eerie but not particularly overtly scary, as this is more psychological horror. Another factor here is Beth is rarely terrified, and this has an excellent explanation for why she reacts the way she does and doesn’t flee the house screaming: Grief has sucked almost every bit of emotion out of her, and she is completely out of f**ks to give. She doesn’t care about anything except answers about her husband. The “other house” stands more as metaphor as meaning anything else, and the monster is okay for me and probably good for many, particularly in some really well-done artistic effects to make it both something and nothing. While it’s all solid in this film, I just couldn’t help but wish the story of the other house ended up more complex the way it’s suggested in the trailer, leaving me a bit hungry.
So overall, THE NIGHT HOUSE is a solid horror film, recommended for those okay with a slower burn and seeking something that is deeper and that isn’t the usual fare.