A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Main character has done nothing to warrant her torment -- it's connected to an accident when she was younger -- and the movie's gloomy, pessimistic overall theme is that nothing matters, that all of this is for nothing.
Positive Role Models
Beth is a fully fleshed-out character, with her own strengths and needs, but she ultimately becomes a victim; she's terrorized, with not much she can do to protect herself. She does have a final moment of life-saving strength in the end, but, given the movie's theme, it hardly matters much.
The movie has a kind, sympathetic Black character, but he's not fully developed. We know nothing about him; his only purpose is to relate to the main character.
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Violence & Scariness
Brief, intense moments of violence. Man violently grabs woman, grabs her throat, smashes her head against mirror. Second woman's head is smashed on mirror, dripping blood. Character strangled/smothered in bed. Character thrown down stairs. Man ties woman up. Crime scene with blood on walls, legs of corpse. Gun shown. Mention of death via suicide by gunshot to the head. Jump scares and other spooky stuff. Strange sculpture of woman pierced by metal spikes. Dead bodies, wrapped in plastic. Main character's husband is dead; movie deals with grief and loss.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kissing; brief undressing. Naked man standing on surface of lake, his back to camera, buttocks shown. Sexually suggestive dialogue. Dialogue about a spouse's possible affair(s).
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Several uses of "f--k," "bulls--t," "motherf----r," "a--hole," "Jesus Christ."
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Products & Purchases
Apple computers and iPhones used throughout.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Grieving main character drinks with friends in bar, gets drunk, needs to be driven home. She drinks heavily at home, both wine and whiskey.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Night House is a horror/thriller film about a woman (Rebecca Hall) who's haunted by vivid nightmares and other things after her husband's death via suicide. Many sequences include brief, intense violence against women, including very rough treatment, strangling, and heads being bashed against mirrors. Characters are thrown down stairs and bound, and viewers see dead bodies and some blood. A gun is shown, suicide is discussed, and there are several jump scares and creepy moments. A couple kisses passionately and starts to remove their clothing, a man's naked buttocks are seen, and there's dialogue about extramarital affairs, as well as some sexually suggestive dialogue. Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus "bulls--t" and "a--hole." The grief-stricken lead character drinks heavily, both in bars and at home, and appears drunk in more than one scene. The movie doesn't always click, but it has several excellent scares and a strong lead performance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While it doesn't totally click in every way, David Bruckner's chiller still manages some truly mind-bending, soul-shuddering scares, which work largely because of Hall's wrenching performance. In its first two-thirds, The Night House uses skillful direction, set decoration, music, and editing to come up with some great shocks. A knock at the door and Richard and Linda Thompson's song "The Calvary Cross" provide some warm-up scares, but a sequence after Beth gets home from drinking at a bar with friends will make viewers' hair stand up on end. Clever use of negative space and mirror images provides more delicious jolts.
As the story begins to sharpen in focus, the scary stuff lessens, and questions arise, such as: How could Owen have embarked on such a huge building project without Beth knowing about it? A use of semi-flashbacks to explain things seems a little flat, and less interesting than the mystery itself, and a final denouement just doesn't have the intense impact it was meant to; it's almost like the punchline of a joke. But Hall helps sell every scene she's in, conveying indescribable depths of pain and horror, and, overall, there's more than enough good stuff in The Night House to make it worth a visit.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.