Run time: 108 mins
Jump scares get a bad rap, primarily because they’re used in cheap ways. Now there are good jump scares out there, ones designed to shake you to your core. The Night House is full of these genuine shocks – and boy oh boy are they effective.
We open with Beth (Rebecca Hall) entering her empty lakefront home after attending her husband’s funeral. Still reeling from his unexpected death, Beth struggles to live alone in the home he built for them. Almost im mediately, she’s plagued by strange dreams, and haunted by a ghostly presence that beckons to her. While her friends are deeply concerned, Beth ignores them and begins searching through his belongings, discovering dark secrets that indicate she might not have known her husband as well as she thought.
Hall worked wonders in 2011’s The Awakening, another chiller that, without her compelling performance, might’ve slipped into obscurity. Here she does it again; while we’ve all seen this kind of ghostly tale many times before, the combination of Hall’s convincing paranoia and the sense of mounting dread, elevate an otherwise ordinary horror into something genuinely terrifying. (Jack Whiting)