When someone is taken from us, we often are given varying degrees of artificial compassion and trays of mildly appetizing banquet food. They’re both mostly empty gestures made by those who are too uncomfortable in the aftermath of death’s presence. Yet even those acts can be sufficient at taking one’s mind off their feeling of immense grief and depression.
But when all the counterfeit commiserators depart and the meals are nothing but crumbs, all we are left with are ourselves and our thoughts. The Night House is a cinematic reflection of how the demons of despair take hold when these moments of solitude occur.
Beth (Rebecca Hall) certainly would be one to understand those sensations. After her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) unexpectedly kills himself, Beth’s depressive thoughts begin to take on a mind of their own. Every night, She begins to see traces of her lover all through the house: The couple’s special song suddenly begins to play or she sees footprints that look identical to his that send Beth into an emotional nosedive.
What’s even more unnerving though is that experiencing these sensations is to learn that they may not be real in the first place. The Night House may venture into supernatural territory at times, but it’s the absence of an answer that is the true monster in the film.
It’s a sensation that I had as I sat awestruck in an empty theater. I felt it still when I exited the cineplex and was the lone soul waiting for the bus. As I walked up to my college dorm for the first time, all I felt was the sound of silence greeting me. Maybe Beth was right. Maybe there really is nothing there…
The Silver Lining
As Silver Linings Reviews is an outlet based out of Upstate New York, we love when filmmakers decide to highlight our region. Midway through the film, The Night House has Beth venture to a bookstore in Utica, NY called Books and Melodies to try and find an answer to her husband’s mysterious behavior. The store does exist (though in Syracuse NY instead) and is an excellent place to find that rare book you’ve been searching for forever. Be sure to check out Books and Melodies if you’re ever in the area and thank you David Bruckner for showcasing our region!
The Night House is now playing at a movie theater near you.