THE NIGHT HOUSE
Cert 15 ★★★
In cinemas now
I’ve often wondered about Rebecca Hall’s agent. Full marks for landing her roles in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Frost/Nixon but Holmes & Watson and Lay The Favourite? Her IMDB page could be spottier than Caine’s or Travolta’s.
So it’s fitting that, here, the hugely talented British actress delivers an award-worthy performance in a run-of-the-mill haunted house movie.
She plays high-school teacher Beth who lives in a dreamy lakeside house built by her loving and, she thought, perfectly normal architect husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). That was until he rowed out to the middle of the lake in the middle of the night and blew his brains out with a gun that she didn’t even know he owned.
Beth, honouring a long tradition of movie widows, spends her evenings swigging booze and watching grainy home videos of happier times.
Then, after one too many unexplained bumps in the night, she begins to wonder if she really is all alone.
As she goes through Owen’s possessions, she discovers he was leading a double life. There are photographs of mysterious women on his computer, sinister drawings in his notebooks and dusty tomes about the occult hidden in his office.
Hall puts in a multi-layered performance as a woman caught in a maelstrom of anger, fear and grief.
There are some solid jump scares but director David Bruckner can’t sustain the horror. Shower scenes, spooky shadows and mysterious footprints lose their power in the film’s draggy and increasingly silly second half.