Rebecca Hall shines in eerie ‘The Night House’
Rebecca Hall occupies nearly every fame of the elegant psychological thriller “The Night House “and you still leave wanting more of her and her character, Beth.
It’s quite a feat even for someone as inherently compelling as Hall. For one, Beth not exactly likable. At least not in the traditional Hollywood sense of what constitutes a “likable” human woman. She is deeply skeptical, sarcastic and occasionally even hostile, telling uncomfortable
truths and drinking herself into oblivion every night with brandy, which she says she doesn’t even really like.
Whether or not she has these tendencies normally is moot, however, since this is not a normal moment for this protagonist. The week before we meet Beth, her husband of almost 15 years, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), a handsome and muscled architect, died by suicide with a handgun she didn’t even know he had. Now she is untethered and alone in the lakeside house that he built for them — a dream existence has turned into a nightmare.
For the most part, Beth gets a pass for her lack of social graces from those around her, including a grade-grabbing mother whom she eviscerates with indifference. And she has some friends and
acquaintances who seem to genuinely care, like a fellow teacher, Claire (”Barry’s” Sarah Goldberg), and her neighbor Mel (Vondie Curtis Hall), who are both concerned about her mental state. No one expects her to be OK, but Beth seems to be spiraling.
Confidently directed by David Bruckner from a clever script written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, “The Night House” excels in tension building —it is both unpredictable and unnervingly restrained. In other words, you’re rarely at ease for 110 minutes.
“The Night House,” a Searchlight Pictures release in theaters Friday, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “language, some violence, disturbing image, some sexual references.” Running time: 110 minutes.