You know that optical illusion where you first think you’re looking at a drawing of a vase, and then you see the inverse of the image, and it turns out is the outline of two faces staring at each other in profile (or vice-versa)?
Liar—you’ve seen something like that before.
Anywho, there’s a neat effect similar to that in The Night House where something unremarkable, like the top of a column, suddenly reshapes itself, and you realize you have been looking at the outline of a head in profile which has now turned towards the camera. I don’t recall seeing anything like this before. It was startling each time it happens and it isn’t overused.
The Night House has a lot more going for it than just that effect.
Which made me happy, because I have become increasingly wary of art house horror movies in the A24 mold. More often than not, I find these films place style far above substance, often at the expense of plot and character development. I am especially tired of weird just for its own sake, and films that conclude without resolving anything. I’m all for ambiguity but watching a streak of films with uncertain endings starts becoming like eating nothing but soup for days on end. You will eventually want something more substantial.
An unusual development occurs in this movie, with the discovery of a house built to be the mirror opposite of the protagonist’s house. Fortunately, The Night House provides a rational explanation for this and its other mysteries (well, as makes sense within the world of the film). It was intriguing, with a slightly different spin on this type of contemporary thriller. I came away satisfied.
And, hey, I just realized the mirror-image houses are like the two identical faces whose outline forms the inverse image of a vase. How about that!
Dir: David Bruckner
Starring Rebecca Hall (OK, there’s also other people in the movie, but it really is The Rebecca Hall Show)
Watched on blu-ray