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The Night House shows that mood, atmosphere and a fine lead performance mean nothing if the denouement falls flat on its face.

Mood and atmosphere go a long way in horror and suspense, a point once again proven by The Night House.

From the very first scenes director David Bruckner lures you into the film by doubling down on the eerie nocturnal moments in a secluded lake house and very slowly feeding the audience crumbs about what exactly is troubling the recently widowed woman living there. For the best part of an hour that is enough to intrigue you and keep you engaged, not in the least because lead actress Rebecca Hall puts in an excellent performance.

But once The Night House has to come up with a plausible solution for all the scary stuff happening around her, the picture slowly disintegrates, proving that mood and atmosphere mean nothing if the denouement falls flat on its face.

Slight spoiler ahead: apparently the filmmakers wanted to make a poignant examination of depression and how it can linger for years before re-emerging, but in truth I had that to look that up, because The Night House never conveys this essential point in a clear or elegant way, resulting in a finale that stands a great chance of perplexing you.

release: 2021

director: David Bruckner

starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Evan Jonigkeit


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